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Osakis woman killed Friday at her home, died from blunt-force trama

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Updated 6 p.m. Saturday

OSAKIS, Minn. - An Osakis woman was killed Friday when she interrupted a burglary in her home, according to Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson.

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Diane Fortenberry, 51, of rural Osakis, had lunch with co-workers and returned to her home around 12:45 p.m. Friday when she reportedly interrupted a burglary in progress.

She was assaulted and several items were taken from the home.

Fortenberry's son found her unresponsive when he returned home from work around 4:40 p.m.

Fortenberry was transported to Long Prairie Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, Mikkelson said preliminary autopsy results indicate Fortenberry suffered blunt force trauma.

"This is very concerning to our community," Mikkelson said during a Saturday morning press conference. "It's a tragic event and our condolences go out to the family."

The Fortenberry home is located along County Road 10, on the northwest side of Lake Osakis in Gordon Township in Todd County, just a quarter mile from the Douglas County line.

No arrests have been made in connection with the murder.

At this point, the sheriff is asking for the community's help.

"We urge anyone in the area who may have seen anything unusual to contact us," Mikkelson said. "We like to think this is a really safe community but with the situation the way that it is, we always need to be vigilant and aware of what's going on around us."

The sheriff said if anyone in the area has seen anything out of the ordinary during the last week, they should contact authorities.

"You know what's normal in your neighborhood. If someone has come to your door asking for directions or offering tree cutting services or selling something, give us a call," Mikkelson said. "Be vigilant and report anything suspicious."

There are many seasonal properties in the area where Fortenberry was killed. Mikkelson advised nearby property owners to check their neighbor's cabins and report anything suspicious.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon,the sheriff released a list of items taken during the home invasion: a 32 inch Westinghouse flat screen TV, a jewelry box with a large amount of Black Hills gold, laptop computer, collector coins and bills and other electronics.

Saturday morning, searchers were on horseback along County Road 10 assisting with the investigation looking for any evidence possible related to the crime scene. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was at the scene helping with the investigation.

If you have seen anything suspicious or you have information related to this case, call the Todd County Sheriff's Office at 320-732-2157 or 800-794-5733.

Fortenberry is survived by her husband and two sons.

According to Mikkelson, Fortenberry grew up in the area and moved back to Osakis about three years ago.

The last homicide in Todd County happened in 2006.

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