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News Release


On 05/24/2020 at approximately 4:58 PM, Lake County Dispatch received a call about a single ATV accident on the Langley River Road, off of Hwy 2 north of Two Harbors.  Howard Paul Schultz, 85 years old, from Brimson, died at the scene. 

 Responding to the accident along with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, were Lake County Rescue Squad, Two Harbors Fire Department and LifeLink.

 The cause of the accident is under investigation.

March 20, 2020

Lake County Residents:

Along with the entire State of Minnesota and the country, Lake County is making plans to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of March 19 at 4:30PM, Lake County will be closing all county offices to the public until further notice, as well as other county buildings. 

The Sheriff’s Office itself will also be closed to the public, but we will still be serving our citizens and visitors through our Dispatch Center for Emergencies and non-emergency calls.  We will also be available through Sheriff’s email ( and through the U.S. Postal Services for gun permits or other correspondence. 

During this time, the following changes have been made:

Gun Permits

Permit to Purchase applications should be mailed directly to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office or emailed to

Permit to Carry applications should be mailed through the Postal Service to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office along with the required documents and payment.  Please be sure to complete the form and sign all required areas.

You can find these forms on the MN BCA website.

Jail Visitation

Until further notice, there will be no visitation of inmates at the Sheriff’s Office/Court House facility.  Visitation will be done between the Jail facility and smartphones containing the app, Reliance Connect, between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., any day of the week.  There is a .25 per minute charge for this service.


Please take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and help to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Wash your hands, practice social distancing, use hand sanitizer and follow all other preventive actions to avoid spreading the virus.



Sheriff Carey Johnson




At approximately 1717 hours on 03/11/2020, Lake County Dispatch received a call reporting a snowmobile accident 5 miles East of the Trestle Inn, on the Tomahawk Trail in Finland, MN.


The victim, a 62 years old male from Ramsey, MN, was pronounced dead at the scene.


Responding to the scene were the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County Rescue Squad, Lake County Ambulance, Cook County agencies and MN DNR.


This accident is still under investigation.


At 0045 today, Lake County Dispatch was contacted by Duluth Police Department regarding 27 year-old, Para Chang, a female missing from St. Paul, MN that may be in Lake County.  A Lake County Deputy located the female victim’s vehicle in a Gooseberry Falls State Park parking lot at 0113.  Foot tracks indicated that the subject walked toward the edge of a cliff on Lake Superior.  Lake County Rescue Squad, US Coast Guard and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist in the search for the subject.  At approximately 0938 this morning the subject’s body was found in the water nearby the area of where the foot tracks ended on the edge of the cliff.  This incident is under investigation.



On Saturday, July 13th at approximately 7:16 PM, Lake County Dispatch received a report of a 20 year old female that had fallen approximately 30 feet from the lower falls at Gooseberry State Park.  The female was flown by Life Link to Essentia in Duluth.  The extent of her injuries are not known at this time.


December 4, 2018
At approximately 1253 today, Lake County Dispatch received a report of a house on fire on Kelly Trail in Ely.  Lake County Sheriff's Office and Babbitt Fire Department responded.  There were no people injured, but the homeowners reported that several pets were lost in the fire.  For additional information, please contact the Babbitt Fire Department.

November 28, 2018
Investigators are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of an individual located deceased at a home on the 9000 block of Holden Court in Isabella, Minnesota.


The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the death.


Deputies responded to the home shortly after 5:30 am today following a 911 call reporting an unresponsive person.  They located the deceased individual in the home.


At this point investigators do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the public.


The deceased person has been taken to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and autopsy.  Information on their identity will be released once the autopsy and family notifications are complete.


November 28, 2018
On 11/27/2018 Lake County received a request from Duluth Township Police to check an area on County Hwy 2, just south of Hwy 1, for an attempt to locate a vehicle that was last seen in Lake County on 11/11/18.   Deputies responded to the general area and discovered the vehicle in question (blue Toyota van) parked in that general area where it wasn’t easily noticed.  The vehicle was unoccupied and locked.  It appeared the vehicle had been there for a while and was snow covered with no fresh tracks around it.  Responding deputies did a general search of the area and the decision was made to call for dogs to aid in the search. 


On 11/28/2018 at approximately 1039 am, the body of 57-year old Janeen Peters from the Duluth area was located approximately 500 yards from the vehicle in a wooded area.  The cause of death is yet to be determined.  The body has been transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Officers for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.


August 1, 2018
On Tuesday July 31, 2018 at 9:11PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report that 2 people and their dog were struck by lightning at the Fall Lake Campground.  The male and female, along with their dog, were sitting in their tent when lightning struck some nearby trees.  Both parties were transported by ambulance to the Ely Bloomenson Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  The injuries to the dog were also non-life-threatening. 


June 12, 2018


On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 3:41PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning on Perent Lake, which is in northeast Lake County within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.   


The reporting party stated the 31 year old victim had been missing since 11:00PM on June 9.  The victim had been in a canoe that capsized with 2 occupants, neither of which were wearing life jackets.  It was reported that the victim never made it to shore.  The other occupant was able to swim to a rock where he was rescued by another camper who had heard someone yelling for help.

On Monday, June 11 at approximately 3:34PM, the body of Joseph Bennett Fedick, of Coon Rapids, MN, was recovered from the water within a couple hundred yards of their campsite.


The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County and St. Louis County Search and Rescue teams, Forest Service Law Enforcement and sea plane pilot, and Border Patrol all responded to assist in the search.


June 7, 2018


On June 7, 2018 at 6:38 p.m., The Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an ATV accident at the intersection of Highway 3 and the West Castle Danger Road north of Two Harbors. 


The victim, Chad Blight, 41 years old, of Two Harbors, was pronounced dead at the scene. 


Members from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Two Harbors Fire Department, Lake County Rescue Squad and Lake County Ambulance Service responded to the call. 


The incident is under investigation.


May 23, 2018
On May 23, 2018 at 12:10 PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting a female had shot herself on the beach near a Two Harbors resort.  The female, age 51, later died from her injuries.  This is still under investigation.  The name of the victim is being withheld until notification is made to family members.


May 9, 2018
On 05/08/2018 at 9am, another search for Tawhna Jolee Pringle was organized.  This search involved family and friends of Pringle, as well as Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue members.  During the search, at approximately 11:00am, Tawhna Pringle was found approximately 100 feet off the Dunka River Road and approximately 2.2 miles from where the truck was originally discovered on 02/07/2018.  There appears to be no foul play involved.  Pringle’s death was likely caused by hypothermia and exposure to the extreme cold.  An autopsy will be done to confirm.


December 19, 2017


At 1041 we received a 911 call from a residence on McDougal Lake in Isabella, off of Hwy 1.  The caller reported that a bear attacked some workers doing construction on a garage at a local residence.  When the bear attacked one of the workers, the other worker tried to help and was bitten on the arm.  The Ely Ambulance and Lake County Rescue Squad responded along with Lake County Deputies and Minnesota Conservation Officers.  Ely Ambulance transported the injured worker to the Ely Hospital.  


After the attack, the bear fled from the area.  We put out a Code Red emergency notification message to local residents in the McDougal Lake area advising that there was a bear in the area and it had attacked a person.  The Code Red also advised residents that if they saw the bear to stay clear of it and report the location to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputies and Conservation officers tracked the bear to a house nearby where they spoke to the home owner.  The homeowner said her husband, 68 year old Bill Vagts, had been attacked earlier by a bear that was attacking his dog.  The bear was then tracked from that residence directly to the residence where the original call came in, which was 150 yards away.  This was where 58 year old Daniel Boedeker from Winton, who sustained injuries in the attack, and 54 year old Gary Jerich from Winton, who was attacked but was not injured, were working.  The bear was located near that residence and was put down at 1207.  The bear was a female black bear, approximately 200 pounds.


November 25, 2017


On November 25, 2017 at 7:17 a.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a call about a body that had washed up on the beach near Split Rock Lighthouse.  The person was later identified as 45-year old Derek Sigurd Hansen of Minnetonka, Minnesota.  It appears that Hansen drowned but circumstances involved with his death are still under investigation.  An autopsy will be conducted.

September 25, 2017
1:00 P.M.
Lake Superior Diving Fatality

On September 23, 2017 at 1:11 p.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a call about a diver in distress at the Madeira Shipwreck Site on Lake Superior within Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputies and Rescue, along with Lake County Ambulance and MN DNR State Park Rangers, responded.  When deputies and ambulance personnel arrived, AARON TIMMERMAN, 42, of New Hope, MN, was unresponsive and CPR was in progress.  He was transported to a helicopter landing zone at Gooseberry Falls State Park where Two Harbors Fire Department was maintaining a landing site for Life Link Seven Medical Helicopter.  Upon examination by Life Link Staff and consultation with ER doctors, Timmerman was pronounced dead at 1410 hours at the landing zone.

Timmerman had been diving with a group on the Madeira Shipwreck.  Witnesses saw him surface and call for help.  No one was able to get to him before he went under.  He was located unresponsive on the bottom of Lake Superior by two members of his group.  They brought him to the surface.  Other divers brought him to shore and initiated CPR.

The incident is still under investigation.  The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

For further information about the Madeira Shipwreck Site, contact Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

September 10, 2017
On 09/10/2017 at 1301 hours, the Lake County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls from Palisade Head, north of Silver Bay, MN along Lake Superior.  While visiting Palisade Head with friends, a 14 year old female accidentally fell over the top of the cliff.  The first ones down to her were some bystanders who repelled down the cliff to render first aid and perform life saving measures.  She was transported by Lifelink Helicopter to the hospital.  Unfortunately, we have received word that she passed away from her injuries.  Her name is being withheld pending notification to her family.

On 09/10/2017 at 1447 hours, the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from the Trestle Inn in Finland, MN of an ATV accident with injuries.  Finland Rescue, Silver Bay Rescue, Finland Fire and Lake County Ambulance and Lifelink all responded to the scene to perform life saving measures on Harold James Melde, of Duluth, MN.  Unfortunately, he has succumbed to his injuries.  His name is being withheld pending notification to family members.

August 30, 2017
On 08/30/17 at 11:46 a.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a distress call from a spot locator within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with coordinates. Due to the remote location of those coordinates that are along the Kekekabic Trail, between Thomas and Hatchet Lakes, we have requested assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol Helicopters Flight Section to do a fly over of those coordinates to locate the parties and to determine their distress signal needs. Once this has been accomplished we will be able to update our press release with further information.

July 21, 2016


1:00 PM Basswood Lake Rescue


On July 21, 2016 at 4:20 AM, Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a severe weather related incident.  Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Rescue along with St. Louis County Rescue, Morse/Fall Lake Fire Department, the US Forest Service, Quetico Park Rangers, and Ontario Provincial Police responded.  There were two injuries and two fatalities.  The incident occurred on Basswood Lake in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.  The injured people were transported by US Forest Service Airplane and Ely Ambulance to Ely Hospital.  The Ontario Provincial Police is investigating the incident.


For further information, contact the Ontario Provincial Police.


Contact:        Provincial Constable Jim Davis
                      Badge #12311
                      Media Relations Officer
                      Rainy River District Detachment


Phone:          (807) 597-2120
                      (807) 598-0966




October 22, 2015 at 1800 hours             


On 10-22-2015 at 1:58 PM, Lake County Dispatch received a call about a head-on collision on the Lax Lake Road in rural Lake County.  The crash involved a commercial vehicle and a passenger vehicle.  A 31 year old man died in the accident.  The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of the family.  The accident is currently under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the MN State Patrol and Silver Bay Police Department.  The Finland Fire Department, Silver Bay Fire Department, Lake County Rescue, and Lake County Ambulance responded and assisted at the scene.

July 8, 2015 - UPDATED (1636 hours)


Lake County Sheriff’s Office Press Release


Basswood Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Water Emergency


At 1308 hours yesterday, Lake County Dispatch received a call from Sommers Canoe Base of two to three persons in a canoe paddling on Basswood Lake when their canoe went over the Upper Basswood Falls near the Canadian border.  A youth was pinned under a log in the water. 


It was later determined by rescuers that this incident occurred between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. when the three teenage males in a canoe paddling on Basswood Lake lost control of their canoe in the rapids near Upper Basswood Falls on the Canadian border and a 15 year old male from Rochester was trapped between the damaged canoe and the rocks of the rapids in the water.


Around 1500 hours, rescuers from Lake County Sheriff’s Office and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue were able to get to the victims and render aid to the victim whose leg was pinned in the water between the damaged canoe and the rocks.  The canoe was being forced against the rocks by the hydraulics of the rapids at the top of the falls.


At 1715 hours, rescue members were able to remove the trapped youth from the rocks and water.  The victim was nearly unconscious during the last 30 minutes of the rescue and was suffering from extreme hypothermia and a possible ankle fracture.


At approximately 1930 hours, Minnesota State Patrol Helicopter Trooper 8 was used to airlift the parties from the Basswood Lake scene to another location nearby where the Forest Service Beaver was waiting to transport.  The victims were part of a youth church group from Rochester, Minnesota.  The parties were then flown to the Ely Seaplane Base where Ely ambulance then transported the victim to the Ely hospital.


There were no fractures to the victim’s ankle, but he is still in the hospital due to crushing injuries to his leg and boot.  The hospital hopes to release the victim this afternoon.


The victims’ names are Matthew Knight, 37 years old, from Duluth, who is an adult group leader; Asher Bloom, 15 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota; Josiah Murray, 18 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota, and Grant Call, 17 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota.  All were part of a church group from Calvary Baptist Church out of Rochester, Minnesota.


This rescue mission would not have had a successful outcome had it not been for all of the agencies who assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office   A special thank you goes to Lake County Rescue personnel involved, the U.S. Forest Service pilot and crew, the Minnesota State Patrol Trooper 8 and their crew, including St. Paul Fire Department trained rescuers, who were instrumental in aiding our rescue of the victim from the scene.  And a special thank you to St. Louis County Rescue, the Morse-Fall Lake Fire Department First Responders, and the MN Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers who assisted.   And ultimately a special thank you on behalf of all of the rescue members and the victims to the Northern Tier Boy Scout staff members who reported this incident and rendered assistance in the rescue operation. 


Carey G. Johnson, Sheriff
Lake County Sheriff’s Office
613 3rd Avenue
Two Harbors, MN. 55616
Phone (218) 834-8385
Fax (218) 834-8445