The Vault

Join host Trisha Taurinskas as we delve into the news vault for a fresh look at the cold cases, crime and intrigue in our upper Midwest communities. Brought to you by Forum Communications Company.

Hosted By
Trisha Taurinskas
Trisha Taurinskas
Latest Episodes
Kate Richards O’Hare: She delivered anti-war speeches all over the U.S., but North Dakota threw her in prison for it
Thu Jun 01 12:23:00 EDT 2023
Kate Richards O’Hare was sentenced to a five-year sentence of hard labor at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. Her crime? Violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for making an anti-war speech in Bowman, North Dakota, just two years earlier.

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Vanished in Vermillion: A reporter's deep dive into South Dakota's most infamous cold case
Wed May 17 11:32:00 EDT 2023
This episode focuses on the book, "Vanished in Vermillion," written by award-winning journalist Lou Raguse. 

“Vanished in Vermillion,” peels back the layers of complexity that hide behind headlines. Through years of added research and interviews with those involved, Raguse tells the story in a way that captures the nuances of it all.

True crime books often focus on the crime itself and the investigation, or lack thereof, that follows. This story shows what happens when law enforcement makes critical mistakes in the investigation, and how those errors can impact the lives of those caught in the tangled web.

In this episode, Trisha Taurinskas shares her thoughts on the book, along with parts of her interview with Lou Raguse. 

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A farm party murder. Who killed Karla Jo Nieland?
Thu May 04 10:26:00 EDT 2023
Court documents newly obtained by Forum News Service show the man who was acquitted in the 1981 brutal murder of his girlfriend, 18-year-old Karla Jo Nieland, at a farm party had first asked a judge to dismiss second-degree murder charges on the grounds that he did not intend to kill her.

The newly obtained Minnesota Supreme Court documents relate to appeals the defense team filed prior to the trial of John Keep. They argue damage to Nieland caused by the horsehoe ring Keep wore on his right hand shows Keep made “backhand slaps," not "bludgeoning blows."

Keep's legal team also argued he was drunk and not in a state of mind to kill Nieland.

In addition to arguments that Keep should not stand trial for second-degree murder, his legal team also appealed to have him tried as a juvenile, based on arguments that he wasn’t a threat to the public.

Keep was 17 years old at the time of Nieland's death.

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Written and narrated by Trisha Taurinskas 

Midwest pipe bomber tried to make a 'smiley face' on national map
Wed Apr 26 13:55:00 EDT 2023
In less than a week, 18 pipe bombs packed with lead shot and nails were either found or detonated in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas. At least six people were injured in Iowa, four of whom were mail carriers .

With a country still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI got involved and began the task of putting the pieces together. This time, the war on terror would lead investigators not to foreign lands but to Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin.

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Written by: Mark Wasson

Hosted by: Trisha Taurinskas 

How the O.J. Simpson verdict swayed justice in a Minnesota murder case
Wed Apr 19 12:12:00 EDT 2023
The 1979 death of a young woman, Denise Daly, who fell from a moving grain truck in Carlton County, Minnesota, was initially thought to be a suicide or an accident. That was until an anonymous tip nearly 15 years later connected the incident to the 1983 fire that claimed the life of her sister, Mary Daly, and infant nephew, Christopher Daly, in Superior, Wisconsin.

First-degree murder charges against two individuals were dismissed in 1996 because of irregularities in the grand jury proceedings, Sixth Judicial District Judge Donovan Frank ruled. The grand jury returned the indictments about five hours after they watched the O.J. Simpson verdict on TV at the Carlton County Courthouse.

"Both cases involved a male member of a racial minority allegedly killing a Caucasian woman with whom he was intimately involved in a brutal fit of rage," Frank wrote in his decision. "The court agrees with the defendants that O.J. Simpson verdict —and the emotions it incited —injected prejudice or the appearance of prejudice into the grand jury deliberations. As a result, this event compromised the integrity of this grand jury process."

The State of Minnesota unsuccessfully appealed the trial court's decision Jan. 21, 1997.

The arson investigation continued regardless of the decision to drop the incitements in Denise's murder case. New evidence in the arson case surfaced in fall 1995 that eliminated some suspects and raised questions about others, but it remains unsolved.


Written by: Brielle Bredsten

Hosted by: Trisha Taurinskas

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Walter Liggett, part 2: Did Minnesota's former governor order the mob hit?
Fri Apr 14 13:35:00 EDT 2023
Walter Liggett was shot dead while holding a bag of groceries. In part 2 of “The Slaying of Walter Liggett,” why a Minnesota governor and a former North Dakota governor were players in the tragedy.


Written by: Tracy Briggs

Hosted by: Trisha Taurinskas

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A mob hit on a former Fargo newspaper editor?
Wed Apr 12 11:19:00 EDT 2023
Walter Liggett was beaten up, framed on rape charges and eventually murdered. In part 1 of this two-part report, Tracy Briggs explores the question: What was he writing about?

Written by: Tracy Briggs 

Hosted by: Trisha Taurinskas

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Refugio Rodriguez, part 4: Homicide or suicide? What role does the medical examiner play in determining how a person died
Thu Mar 30 09:03:00 EDT 2023
*This episode contains disturbing descriptions of both strangulations and hangings. Please take care while listening. 

In this episode, we examine the role of the medical examiner in suspicious death cases. Can a medical examiner determine whether a death was a suicide? The answer is complex. 

Al Capone, part 3: Are the rumors true?
Fri Mar 17 11:28:00 EDT 2023
I have a bit of a treat for you folks who are fascinated with Al Capone. Forum journalist Tracy Briggs put together a three-part series on some incredibly fascinating — and definitely not well known — stories of Capone and his shocking connections to Minnesota and North Dakota. 

Al Capone, part 2: A small-town waitress and an infamous bootlegger
Fri Mar 17 11:19:00 EDT 2023
I have a bit of a treat for you folks who are fascinated with Al Capone. Forum journalist Tracy Briggs put together a three-part series on some incredibly fascinating — and definitely not well known — stories of Capone and his shocking connections to Minnesota and North Dakota.