Four men were found dead in a wheat field while working during a small farming town’s harvest season.
A North Dakota farm owner was discovered dead in his wheat combine on Monday, while three workers he employed were also found dead in the surrounding field.
‘Upon investigation, it was determined that the four deceased individuals had sustained gunshot wounds,’ Towner County Sheriff Andrew Hillier stated. ‘Evidence from the scene indicates that this incident was a murder-suicide.’
The owner of the farm was identified as Douglas Dulmage, 56, of Leeds.
Dulmage lived in town with his wife and two daughters, but farmed on property he co-owned with his 95-year-old father in nearby Cando.
The other three victims were identified as Justin Bracken, 34, Richard Bracken, 64, and Robert Bracken, 59. Justin and Richard were from Leeds, while Robert was from Cando.
The three men were related to each other and working as farm hands on Dulmage’s property.
Only one weapon was recovered at the scene – a .357 revolver.
Authorities have not identified who they suspect murdered the other men.
The investigation is still ongoing, the sheriff’s office said, and more details will be released after forensic medical examinations have been conducted.
Friends described Dulmage as a ‘pillar of the community’, reported.
‘Doug didn’t have enemies. Everybody loved, loved Doug. Just a tremendous role model for all of us,’ his friend Pat Traynor told the news outlet. ‘Doug lived God, faith and family by his actions and not just his words.’
Dulmage had previously served as president of the Benson County Farm Bureau, according to the state Farm Bureau President Daryl Lies.
‘It’s hard to grasp and understand why something like this can happen in rural North Dakota,’ Lies said.
Others described Dulmage as a volunteer firefighter, a community leader, a helpful neighbor and an avid hunter.
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