Posts made in September, 2017

Danny Newville – an update

In my last post, I mentioned that the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office had received an anonymous letter and was hoping to reach out to the author so they could get a few more details. I’m happy to report that… thanks to your help in sharing that post… the author did indeed reach out to Detective Kent Bauman and he was able to gather additional information for Danny’s case. Great job, everyone!

I asked Detective Bauman if he could provide a brief update on the investigation. I was curious as to how many tips they’ve received and whether any of this extra attention was helping the case. Although he wasn’t able to share much, he did mention that they have received 10 additional leads since I started blogging about Danny’s story and his case remains an active investigation.

Wow! Ten leads may not sound like much, but those are ten leads they didn’t have two months ago. And, equally important, they were generated by everyday people like us who simply care about this 18 year old boy, took the time to learn about Danny’s case, and shared his story across the Internet.

That’s powerful.

There’s a word for this new phenomenon. It’s called “crowdsourcing,” and it can be an incredibly effective tool in this day and age. However, it can also be a slippery slope for investigators who are just now learning the power of this brave new medium.

This Sunday, October 1st, CBS is premiering a new TV show called Wisdom of the Crowd. Here’s a quick rundown from the CBS web site:

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Wisdom of the Crowd is a drama about a visionary tech innovator who creates a cutting-edge crowdsourcing app to solve his daughter’s murder, and revolutionize crime solving in the process. Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeffrey Tanner, develops “Sophe,” an online platform for publicly shared information he’s certain will find his daughter’s killer. To assist him, Tanner recruits Detective Tommy Cavanaugh, the original cop who investigated the murder but was unceremoniously forced off the case. Working with them is Sara Morton, a brilliant engineer whose relationship with Tanner goes beyond professional; Josh Novak, a talented, nerdy-cool head programmer; and Tariq Bakari, a tech genius and expert hacker with issues adhering to the rules. Concerned with Tanner’s obsession is his successful ex-wife, Congresswoman Alex Hale, with whom he shares an unbreakable bond over their shared grief. As Tanner taps into the “wisdom of the crowd,” his unexpected success fuels his determination to solve even more cases than just the one that’s personal to him.

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I’ll probably tune in to the show and check it out. I’m especially curious to see how they’ll present the pitfalls of crowdsourcing… of which there are many. Speaking from experience, I’ve learned that crowdsourcing can quickly lead to witch-hunting if speculation is allowed to prevail over simple common sense and decency. The public is a powerful force – especially when combined with social media – and the results can be devastating if mob mentality begins to take over.

I guess what I’m saying is… keep an open mind. More often than not, a simpler solution is better then a more complex one. Or, as any good detective will tell you, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.”

If you have information about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Kent Bauman
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

Facebook Messenger:
https://www.facebook.com/Kandiyohi-County-Sheriffs-Office-471311649587923

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Danny Newville – A request from the Sheriff’s Office

I was contacted by Detective Kent Bauman from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office last week. Since I started writing about Danny’s story on my blog, they received an anonymous letter that they would like to follow-up on. Unfortunately, they can’t because it’s anonymous.

Detective Bauman asked if I would let the author of this letter know that they are very interested in speaking to him/her in order to get a few more details. He requested that this person please contact him between 8am-4pm, Monday through Friday, at 320-214-6700, extension 3315. And, he wanted to assure this person that he/she could remain anonymous. They will absolutely honor and respect that request.

Beyond that, I have heard from a lot of people over the past few weeks… so much so that my head is spinning from all the details. There are conflicting reports of what may have happened to Danny, so it’s hard to distinguish rumors from fact.

Here’s the short list of what I’ve heard.

  • He was killed at a party.
  • There was no party.
  • He left town and moved to a different state.
  • He was hit in the head with a baseball bat.
  • He was hit in the head with a shovel.
  • He was given bad drugs.
  • He was buried with a backhoe.
  • He was buried at a construction site.
  • He was buried in someone’s back yard.
  • He was buried in a bog.

It goes on and on. At the end of the day, I have no idea what happened to Danny Newville, but someone does. If you are that someone, please take a moment to reach out to Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office. Even if you feel your information is insignificant, please take the time to reach out anyway. They can make that determination on their end.

Detective Kent Bauman
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

Facebook Messenger:
https://www.facebook.com/Kandiyohi-County-Sheriffs-Office-471311649587923

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Danny Newville – From a friend

For a month now, I’ve been writing about Danny Newville, an 18 year old boy from New London, Minnesota who disappeared on August 1, 2002. I call him a boy, even though at 18 years old, I realize he was actually a legal adult. But, still… to me, he was just a boy… a boy who was struggling to find his path.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the past few weeks, and it feels like the floodgates are finally starting to open a little here in New London. Maybe it’s because the kids who knew Danny are now parents themselves and can understand the kind of pain his father feels. Or, maybe it’s because enough time has passed that people are less afraid and more willing to share what they know. Either way, I’m hopeful that by sharing Danny’s story, answers will soon come for the Newville family.

In talking to people, I’ve noticed some common themes that have begun to emerge. Danny Newville’s story isn’t just a missing person’s case. It’s about a kid trying to find his way in a world of “haves” versus “have-nots.” It’s about addiction, fear, failure, and disappointment. It’s about bad decisions, and slippery slopes.

But, one thing this story is NOT about is giving up. Danny Newville was a boy who loved his family and friends. He wanted to live… he deserved to live.

Last week, I spoke to a close friend of Danny’s who gave me a glimpse of who this young man really was. We spoke for almost 45 minutes, and after I hung up, I felt like I’d been given a gift. Suddenly, the story I’d been writing about for the past four weeks took on a whole new meaning. It wasn’t about a young career criminal who was the victim of a drug deal gone bad. It was about a kid who just wanted to fit in.

Here are the parts of our conversation that stuck out for me.

Danny talked about how hard it was to fit in when you’re one of the ‘poor kids.’ He wanted so badly to be accepted by the jocks and the popular kids, but that seemed to be a line he would never be able to cross. He talked about a time he was at a bonfire when he was about 15 years old. The girls were always really nice to him… he had a lot of buddies who were girls. But it was the jocks and the popular boys who’d say, “What the F__ are you doing here?” It was very emotional for him.

When he got into drugs, that made things even worse. The popular kids now labeled him a “druggie,” so they tried to push him away even more.

The last time Danny’s friend saw him, he was just skin and bones and had big bags under his eyes. She was really worried about him and said, “What the hell Danny? You look like shit.” He looked up at her with these deep soulful eyes that said “Here’s another person I’ve disappointed.” Then, he started to cry.

This cut me to the quick. I asked her if she ever felt Danny was suicidal. Was it possible he had taken his own life? Absolutely not, she told me. He was very attached to his friends and family, and especially to his grandpa. He would never have done that to them.

So… what happened to Danny after he left that party on August 1, 2002? Not knowing is the hardest part. His family and friends need answers.

I’ll admit that when I first started writing about Danny Newville’s case, I did so more out of obligation than want. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved with another sad story… wasn’t sure if I could handle it. But here was a kid who was missing from my own small town. It had been 15 years. His family deserved answers. I should write about it.

But now, the more I learn about Danny Newville and the kind of person he was, it tears me apart. Danny was sweet, kind, and special to so many people. He was just a kid who was trying to fit in, trying to get it right, and trying hard not to disappoint his family and friends. He was a kid who deserved to grow up, to learn from his mistakes, to get well, and to be happy. Just like all of us.

He deserved to live.

If you have information about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office at 320-214-6700.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

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