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Freight Line Fugitive


Sheriffs and deputies from Fargo and Moorhead launched a large-scale manhunt on this date in 1923, after a robbery suspect killed a South Dakota sheriff and escaped near Moorhead. The suspect, Edwin Rust, was wanted on robbery charges in Brown County, South Dakota, and was being transported to Aberdeen by Sheriff Isaac Fulker.

Captured in East Grand Forks in June, Rust was placed in jail until he could be transferred to Aberdeen. On July 1st, Sheriff Fulker arrived to transport the suspect. The two boarded the train, but Rust managed to kill Fulker and jump from the moving train. Sheriff Fulker left behind a wife and several children, and local Cass and Clay County authorities immediately formed a posse to capture the fugitive.

For weeks, Rust managed to elude authorities, despite the offer of a $500 reward. Then, on July 12, two men reported traveling with Rust on the train from Staples to Detroit, Minnesota – now known as Detroit Lakes. The Becker County Sheriff contacted Fargo with the news, and a large posse travelled to the small town of Detroit in hopes of catching Rust once and for all. For two weeks, the posse’s search proved fruitless. Disheartened, the searchers returned to Fargo-Moorhead empty-handed. Two weeks later, Fargo’s Sheriff Kraemer received word that Rust had been killed in a shoot-out with St. Paul police. Apparently Rust had made his way to St. Paul and had taken up residence at a run-down guesthouse. He had dyed his blond hair black and had begun mugging locals to pay his way. He was finally captured by police after he and a female accomplice stole a car. After being handcuffed and placed in the back of the police cruiser, Rust managed to free himself and jump from the car. He escaped down an alley, but was soon tracked by police to his rented room. A short gun fight ensued, and Rust was fatally shot. Only later did investigators realize that the dead criminal was in fact the wanted Edwin Rust; they also discovered that the young man had been on parole from Sacramento’s Folsom Prison when he committed his crimes in Aberdeen.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


http://aberdeensports.net/inthehuddle/2010/07/06/1923-manhunt-came-to-an-end-in-minnesota/ (In the Huddle blog posted by J. Papendick, American News Staff, August 17, 1923: “1923 Man Hunt Came to an End in Minnesota”)

http://www.infomercantile.com/dakota_death_trip/Posse_Hunts_Man_1342043512.html (Dakota Death Trip blog posted by D. Dahlsad, Bismarck Tribune, July 14, 1923)