Danny Newville – A talk with his dad

As I’ve gotten to know Russ Newville over the past year, I’ve figured out that he is passionate about four things:

  1. Finding his son
  2. Serving his country
  3. Vikings football
  4. Fishing

On Monday, August 6th, I had a chance to sit down with Russ and interview him for this article. Just two days earlier, on Saturday, August 4th, I had joined Russ and his family for the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk.

**Download a flyer for the 6th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk on Saturday, August 3, 2019**

It was a rainy morning, and by 6 AM, I was worried that the sky wouldn’t clear in time for Danny’s walk, which started at 11 AM. I texted Russ to ask if there was a Plan B, and whether I should put out a post on the “Find Danny Newville” Facebook page, alerting people to whatever that Plan B might be.

“No Plan B,” Russ replied. “I think we’ll be OK.”

As it turns out, he was exactly right. By 10:00 AM, the steady rain had reduced to a drizzle, and by 11:00 AM, the dark rain clouds had moved off to the east, and we were ready to go.

**View all the photos from the 2018 Danny Newville Memorial Walk**

Russ had ordered neon yellow t-shirts for several of us with a photo of Danny and the word “MISSING” in red, and “In Memory of Danny Newville” across the top.

A group of 40-50 people gathered in the parking lot at New London Spicer High School to take part in the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk. Many were family members and close friends who had attended the walk every year. Others had never known Danny or his family, but had come anyway, just to show their support.

Before the walk started, we gathered in a circle and held hands as Pastor Paul McCullough said a short prayer. He has been a good family friend to the Newvilles over the years, and has attended Danny’s Memorial Walk each and every year.

As the walk began, Russ took the lead, followed by two of Danny’s closest friends, Jamie and Morgan. They walked with pride and resolve as the line behind them winded its way out of the parking lot and onto Main Street. Cars stopped in reverence as we crossed the street, and people waved or nodded in support as we passed.

When we reached Old Grey Park, we gathered around Danny’s tree that had been planted five years earlier. Many marveled at how much it had grown, especially in the past year. Kathy, a mutual friend of both mine and the Newvilles, told me she had created the stainless steel memorial plaque at the base of the tree. In large bold letters, it read, “DANIEL NEWVILLE,” and underneath, “DANNY IS ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS.”

Russ posed for a photo under Danny’s tree with his father and brothers, then he asked if I would mind sharing a few words. I said I would be happy to, although I hadn’t prepared anything. First, I thanked Russ and his family for trusting me with Danny’s story, and for sharing their memories with me. I also thanked Danny’s friends for being so open with me and supporting my efforts to keep the conversation going.

After the walk, we gathered at Red and Tara’s place on Henderson Lake for a BBQ and picnic. (Red is Russ’s dad and Danny’s grandpa.) As I sat and ate my brat, Russ explained to me that his parents had moved from Fairmont to Spicer when he was 12 years old. They had purchased this piece of lake property, turned it into a resort, and the whole family helped run it until 1978.


Now, two days later, as I sat with Russ in his front yard in Willmar, I asked him to tell me about his only child, Danny. What kind of kid was he? What did he like to do?

“He always loved to go fishing,” Russ told me.

He told me a story about the first big fish Danny almost caught. It was a 12-13 pound northern that got away when they were fishing on the Crow River in New London.

Danny was only nine or ten years old at the time. “It’s too bad he didn’t get a chance to reel it in,” Russ said. “He would have been in for the fight of his life.”

Russ jumped up at that point, like he had just remembered something. “You sit there,” he told me. “I’ll be right back.”

When he returned less than a minute later, he was holding a fishing rod. “This is Danny’s” he said. “I used it this year in the northern tournament for luck.”

“Did it bring you luck?” I asked him.

“Nope,” he laughed.

It DID bring him luck though, back in June of 2001… the year before Danny went missing. He and Danny had registered as a team for the annual Crow River Fishing Tournament in New London. They arrived early for the 7:00 send-off, only to find out that the motor on Russ’s boat wasn’t working. Instead of forfeiting, they decided to just limp along using the small trolling motor instead.

They had a good day, catching several fish between the two of them. However, since it was a northern tournament, they could only keep three northern pike that went “over the stick” (i.e., were at least as long as the judge’s measuring stick). The winner would be determined by the combined weight of all three qualifying fish.

Russ caught the first two fish. One was just over 9 pounds, and the other not quite 8 pounds. It was around 1 PM, and they had trolled so far away from where they had launched, they were worried they wouldn’t get back in time with their little trolling motor. Russ flagged down one of the judges in another boat and asked if he could tow them back toward the landing so they didn’t miss their chance to enter their qualifying fish.

After the tow, they still had about 30 minutes left to fish, so Danny took a few more final casts. It was then that he hooked the third 8 pound northern that helped them win the tournament that year.

It’s one of the last pictures Russ ever had taken with his son. Danny is holding the first prize check for $300 in his mouth, along with the two smaller northerns in each hand. Russ is holding the larger northern, and a second check for $1,000. (He had also bought their team in the Calcutta the night before, and they won that, too.)

I asked Russ if this was the same fishing rod Danny had asked him to set out by the garage the day before he went missing.

“Yep,” Russ said. “This is the one.”

On July 31, 2002, Danny Newville had just gotten out of the county jail after serving 37 days for a probation violation. He and his friends had made plans to go fishing the next day, so Danny had called his dad and asked him to set his fishing rod out so he could swing by and pick it up later that afternoon.

Before he left for work that day, Russ set Danny’s fishing rod out against the garage door. When he returned from work, he noticed it was still there, so, he set it to the side, figuring Danny would be by the next day to pick it up. However, after a few days had gone by and the fishing rod was still sitting there, Russ started making a few phone calls. That’s when he realized no one had seen Danny for several days.

I asked Russ if this was the same house they’d been living in at the time Danny disappeared. He told me no. They were living on the north side of Willmar at that time, in a house on Lake Avenue.

“It was a big blue house with a big double garage,” Russ told me. “The last time I saw Danny was probably two weeks before he got out of jail. I told him, ‘We’ve got this nice house with a big bedroom upstairs. That will be yours when you get out. You come stay with us.’” But, it never panned out. Danny never got the chance to move back in with them.


I asked Russ to tell me about the day Danny was born.

“Oh boy,” he said. “You want to talk about that?” he said with a laugh.

He went on to explain that Danny’s mom, Cyndy, was in labor with him for over 20 hours. “I think she called me every name in the book, plus she made up a few!” Russ said.

Danny was their first baby. He was born on May 7, 1984 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

“I was hoping he would hold out until my birthday on May 10th, but he couldn’t wait that long,” Russ told me. “He wanted out.”

Russ said Danny didn’t have a lot of hair when he was first born, but within a few months he had a full head of bright red hair.

“Did he get that from you?” I asked.

“I suppose,” Russ chuckled (whose nickname is Rusty).

Russ and Cyndy lived in a small cabin on George Lake in Spicer when Danny was first born. After about a year, they moved to a house on Medayto Drive and lived there until Danny was five. Not long after, the two of them decided to call it quits.

Russ was awarded custody of Danny in 1989. For a while, they both lived at his dad’s house on Henderson Lake until Russ had saved enough money to buy a small two-bedroom house on Harriet Street in Spicer. They lived there until Danny was about 13. Russ was working a night job in Willmar during that time, so Danny often stayed with his aunt Gail and uncle Ryan who lived nearby in Spicer.


It had been over an hour since Russ and I had first started talking when Lidia (his second wife) came home from work. She had just stopped home to change clothes and needed to leave right away to attend a memorial service for a friend. We said a quick hello, and before long, she was off again.

I asked Russ how he and Lidia had met.

“I met Lidia in June or July of 1991. I gave her a ride home from the Armory in Willmar, then I didn’t see her again until October of that year. I happened to bump into her and found out it was her birthday the next day, so I asked her if I could take her out for her birthday. We ended up going out to Hi-Tops in Spicer to listen to the band.”

Lidia has four children: Daniel, Sonia, Jai, and Mari. Her youngest daughter, Mari, was just a few months younger than Danny and had plans to go to college for nursing after graduating in 2003. Unfortunately, with Danny going missing and a lack of college funding, her plans were put on hold.

Then, one day, Russ (a 17-year Army veteran) said, “Mari, do yourself a favor. Go down and talk to the recruiters. Not just one or two… talk to ALL of them… and do your own thinking. You don’t have to join, but just listen to what they have to say.” So, she went. She talked to all the recruiters like Russ had suggested, and then decided to join the National Guard. Russ and Lidia were both proud of Mari and happy that she would be able to pursue her goal of attending college and getting a nursing degree.

Mari got through Basic Training and went on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Then, around Thanksgiving of 2004, she came home and announced to Lidia and Russ that she was going to Iraq.

“Oh shit,” Russ said.

The constant stress of Danny’s disappearance was already taking its toll on Russ and Lidia’s relationship. Now, Russ worried that Mari’s deployment would cause even more conflict between them. After mulling things over for a few days, he came up with a solution.

“I decided to take my sorry old ass down to the recruiting office and see if they’d take me back in.”

Russ figured he’d be killing two birds with one stone. First, he was hoping Lidia would feel better if he and Mari got deployed together; and second, he thought it might help him sort things out in his own head so he wasn’t dwelling on Danny’s case so much.

He was 45 years old by this time and had been out of the service for 10 years. But, he had 17 ½ years prior service in both the Reserves and Guards, so he figured it was worth a shot. The recruiter told him he just needed to pass the physical exam. He passed and was enlisted into the National Guard.

“I was up in Long Prairie for about six months. The whole time, I’m telling them, ‘I want to go to Iraq,’ but nothing was happening. Then, in the summer of 2005, we were at Camp Ripley for two weeks. I knew who the commander was that was taking the Red Bulls over, and he happened to be eating breakfast in the mess hall at the same time I was. I said to myself, ‘Here’s my chance.’”

Russ quickly dumped his tray and ran the two blocks back to his barracks to get Danny’s missing poster that he always kept with him. He returned to the mess hall and waited by the back door until the Lieutenant finished his breakfast. When he came out, Russ saluted him and said, “Excuse me, sir.” The Lieutenant saluted him back, then Russ handed him Danny’s missing poster.

“Sir, I’d just like to say one thing. This is my son. He’s been missing for three years now. I was out of the service for 10 years, but I have 17 ½ years prior service. I came back in because I want to go fight for our country in Iraq. I’ve wanted to do that my whole career. I also think it will help me with my head. You know, since I got here, I see all these kids packing to go that are only 19, 20, 21. In college. Even married. With kids. Why do they have to go? I’ve got 17 years experience. One of them could stay home, and I can go in his or her place.”

The Lieutenant saw Russ’s name on his shirt and asked what unit he was with. He told him, then the Lieutenant said, “OK. Someone will get in touch with you.”

That afternoon, Russ’s Sergeant came to him and said, “Hey, Newville. At 9 AM tomorrow morning, you’re supposed to go talk to the Chaplain.” So, at 9 AM the next morning, Russ went and met with the Chaplain. They talked for about an hour, then he returned to his unit.

Later that afternoon, Russ’s Sergeant came to him again and said, “Hey, Newville. Tomorrow morning, you need to report to Psych.”

So, the next morning, Russ reported to Psych. He met with four different people that day… each for about an hour. After the last meeting, they led Russ into another room.

“So, now there are seven people in the room… the four I talked to earlier, plus three others. The head guy starts talking, and for the first 2-3 minutes, I thought, ‘Oh shit. This doesn’t sound good.’ Then, it changed. He said, ‘We’re all amazed at what you do. We don’t know how you do it, but we all commend you. You are fit to go to Iraq.’”


As Russ tells me about his time in Iraq, he is animated and full of life. He rises to his feet and explains that he served as a T.C. – Truck Commander – for the 134th Brigade Support Battalion of the 34th Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Red Bulls.” He points to the emblem on his t-shirt and tells me about a photo they took of his whole division before they left for Iraq. He’s in the upper right corner of the number “1”.

Lidia’s daughter, Mari, also served with the Red Bulls as a Supply Clerk for the motor pool. Although they served with different companies (Russ with Alpha, and Mari with Bravo), their motor pools were located right next to each other, so they were able to see and visit with each other several times a week.

Russ served an 18-month extended deployment with the Red Bulls in Iraq. As the 4th anniversary of Danny’s disappearance approached, Russ wanted to prepare a letter for the local newspaper in Willmar. He had done the same thing each of the previous three years, but by year four, he was especially frustrated with the lack of progress on Danny’s case.

Two women from his convoy support team helped Russ write the letter. One was his driver; the other was his gunner.

“I’m not very good at spelling or typing,” he told me. “They were. So they helped me.”

On Monday, August 1, 2006, the fourth anniversary of Danny’s disappearance, the local newspaper published a front page article about Danny’s case. A friend scanned a copy of it and emailed it to Russ in Iraq. He was furious.

Rather than publishing Russ’s letter, the reporter had contacted the Sheriff’s Office and written what Russ felt was a very one-sided article about the investigation.

“All it did was make them look good and me look bad,” Russ said.

He ended up showing the article to his commanding officer in Iraq who, in turn, contacted the newspaper to ask why they hadn’t published Russ’s letter. It ran a few days later on the Opinions page (though Russ says several sentences were deleted).

I commended him for getting Danny’s article on the front page, and for following up.

“That’s my job,” he replied. “It’s the only real job I have in life is to find Danny.”


As we started to wrap things up, I asked Russ if there was anything else he wanted to tell me about Danny.

“He was a great artist,” he told me. “With a pen, or pencil, or whatever… my God, he could draw.”

This was a surprise. In all the conversations I’d had with people over the past year, this was something I’d never heard before. I asked him to tell me more.

Russ told me that Danny was really into drawing the last couple years of his life. Russ even talked to him about the possibility of supporting him if Danny wanted to pursue it as a career.

“He brought this thing home that was in a magazine or something. It said ‘Draw this Pirate’ and then he was supposed draw it and mail it in. If they thought he had talent, it said they would get back to him. He drew the pirate and sent it in, and after a few weeks, he got a letter back from them. It said they wanted him to attend a drawing school, but he had no car, no money. That was probably six months before he went missing.”

I wondered about this. I sort of remembered the “Draw this Pirate” ad from back in the day, so I decided to do a little Googling. I found out that the ad originated from a drawing school based in Minneapolis called the “Art Instruction School.” Apparently Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame also saw one of their ads and submitted a drawing, equally curious to see if he had any talent.

As a high school senior in St. Paul, Minnesota, Charles Schulz knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. He also knew he didn’t want to go to college or pursue any formal art education, afraid of being told he couldn’t cut it. Instead, Schulz asked his father for $169 to enroll in Art Instruction Schools, a Minneapolis-based correspondence course that promised students they could become proficient in any number of artistic pursuits by taking a 12-step lesson via the mail.

Despite the exorbitant cost to his father during the Great Depression, Schulz enrolled. Thanks to the debut of his Peanuts strip in 1950, he remains their most famous alumnus.

(SOURCE: Could You Draw This Turtle? | Mental Floss)

I loved this story, and was so happy Russ shared it with me. In that moment, I could see that Danny was a kid with hopes and dreams, just like the rest of us. He was 18 years old and right on the verge of making that big leap into the great unknown… the leap that would catapult him into the rest of his life.

Danny had so much more to give to the world… so many more lives to touch. Today, Russ is left to wonder if Danny might have been a husband or a father by now. That would make Russ a grandfather… maybe with a whole brood of little gingers to teach how to fish.

He is convinced someone knows the answer to the question that has haunted him for 16 years.

Where is Danny?

He continues to hold out hope that one day… in his lifetime… he will find the answer.

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

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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Danny Newville – A talk with his aunt and uncle

Ryan and Gail Newville

There were two people in Danny’s life that I know were hugely important to him. Their names are Gail and Ryan… his aunt and uncle. In my quest to learn more about Danny and the kind of person he was, I knew I wanted to talk to them to get their perspective. So, about a week ago, I contacted Gail and Ryan and asked if I could interview them for a blog story I was hoping to publish prior to Danny’s Memorial Walk this Saturday. They graciously agreed.

**Join us for the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk this Saturday, August 4th**

I drove to Gail and Ryan’s house in Spicer, about five miles from my own house in New London. They live near Lake George, on a secluded street that ends just as their driveway begins. As I pulled in and parked, I couldn’t help but notice the colorful flowers in full bloom and the well-tended garden just to my right. It was beautiful here… and peaceful.

As I got out of my car, Gail came out of the house and met me with a smile. We shook hands and introduced ourselves, even though we both felt like we already knew each other. “Ryan’s in here,” Gail said, as she directed me to the garage on my right.

As I entered the garage, Ryan also greeted me with a smile and shook my hand. On quick glance, I could tell that Ryan was the tinkering type. His garage was immaculate, with clean white cabinets and a precise spot for every tool. It had only been about 60 seconds, but I could already tell that I liked these people. A lot.

I thanked them for agreeing to meet with me, and before I knew it, we had already launched into a full conversation, blasting right past all the formalities. I’m sure they had intended for me to come into the house and sit down at the kitchen table, but instead, we just pulled up some garage stools, and kept right on talking.

It had been a year since I’d been writing about their nephew on my blog. All that time, they had been watching, reading, and following along, but until then, we’d never taken the time to actually sit down and talk. Now that we had, the words just spilled out like waterfalls.

Well… let me clarify. It was really Gail and me spilling forth like springtime waterfalls, while Ryan mostly sat back and tried to get a word in.

You see, Gail was Danny’s “other-other” mom. He had his real mom, Cyndy, and his step-mom, Lidia. And then he had Gail… his “other-other” mom.

When Danny was about 13, he and his dad, Russ, moved from Spicer to Willmar, a much bigger town about 15 miles away. Because Russ had a new job working nights, Danny would often stay with his aunt and uncle in Spicer, and Ryan would drop him off at school in Willmar on his way to work.

Danny hit some bumpy patches during this time, and after a few stints in juvenile detention, he eventually came to live with Ryan and Gail full time in September of 2000. He was 16 years old, a sophomore in high school, and trying to ease back into a school he had left three years earlier.

Fortunately for Danny, he was likable. He was fun, and funny, and he loved to make people laugh. It wasn’t long before he was making new friends and getting used to his new/old school.

In January 2001, Ryan and Gail bought a new boat. They all looked forward to getting it out on the water later that spring, but one month later, Gail broke her leg. It was a bad break, and required her to be in a full cast for six months.

“I couldn’t put any pressure on my leg at all, so Danny helped me a lot during that time.”

Danny was a big help to Ryan, too. Gail and Ryan built their house in 1998, and when Danny came to live with them, they were just starting to finish their basement. Danny helped Ryan put up walls, hang sheetrock, and install custom wood planks on the walls and ceiling. After it was done, they spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and neighbors, playing pool, darts, or watching movies in their new space.

When spring rolled around, they were all anxious to get the new boat in the water. Danny and Ryan went out fishing several nights a week, but Gail couldn’t go because of her cast. Eventually, Ryan and Danny devised a way to get Gail into the boat so she could come along.

“Before it docked, I would just use my one leg, hop up, and then hop in. Danny was pretty happy about that,” she said. “Because he knew I was bummed when I couldn’t go.”

Before long Danny had taken up kneeboarding. “He got to be pretty good at it,” Gail said. “He could do jumps and turns… I think he could even spin around twice.”

“Danny loved that boat,” Ryan said. “Sometimes his girlfriend would come over, and the two of them would just sit in it and talk… while it was parked in the driveway,” he added, laughing.

I asked about his girlfriend.

“She was a few years younger than Danny, so we would go and pick her up or drop her off all the time. She would come over for dinner a lot.”

Ryan told me about a bird house he and Danny built for his dad, Red… Danny’s grandfather. “It was a great big birdhouse… a martin house. When we got done building it, we went and picked up his girlfriend, and then the two of them painted it. I’m pretty sure they got more paint on themselves than they did on that birdhouse.”

That was one of Danny’s first Christmases at their house. Danny loved family, and he LOVED Christmas shopping. He would spend a lot of time thinking about what gifts to get for people, and he would often ask Gail for her opinion.

“He really enjoyed that,” Gail told me. “He’d ask, ‘Do you think so-and-so would like this?’ or, ‘I think this would be good,” or, ‘Where do you get those?’ I’d tell him, ‘No, I think this would be better.’ We’d sit and talk for a long time before heading to the mall.”

I asked Gail if there were any special gifts she remembers Danny giving to her.

“That first Christmas, Danny talked Ryan into getting me a heart-shaped necklace made from Black Hills gold. I loved it… and it is treasured.”

Gail told me another story about Danny. “It was the first summer after we got the boat, and I was still in my cast.  There was a tornado warning, and the weather was getting really bad. Danny was outside trying to find our cat, Alex, and finally I told Danny we had to get downstairs. The neighbor came over with her dog, and Danny ended up carrying the dog down the basement.”

The tornado went up and over their property, sparing the house, but taking down several trees in their yard. After the wind had subsided a bit, Ryan looked out the window and said, “Danny! Look at the size of that hail!” It was still hailing, so Danny put on Ryan’s leather biker jacket and motorcycle helmet, then went outside to pick up some of the hail. When he got back inside, they took pictures of it. It was the size of baseballs.

After the storm, there was a lot of clean-up to be done, and Danny chipped right in. One of their favorite pictures of Danny is when he was helping clear trees after that storm. He was up in a tree, hot and sweaty, with a huge smile on his face.

“That was Danny,” Gail said. “He was always really smiley… from the time he was really young. He was just a happy guy.”

(By the way, Alex the cat survived the storm. No worries.)

Danny had another good friend that he met in choir. Her name was Amanda, and she would often pick Danny up and give him rides to different places.

“He liked choir and met some good friends there,” Gail said. The day before his choir concert in 2001, Danny suddenly remembered he needed a white shirt and a tie. Gail took him shopping to get a shirt, Ryan loaned him a tie and taught him how to tie it, and Amanda picked him up so he could get there an hour early.

They were a good team.

“He had a good home here,” Gail said. “We really tried.”

In 2002, they started to worry that Danny was using drugs again. It was subtle, but they began to notice a gradual shift in his attitude. He wasn’t checking in, and began missing his curfew. They reached out to his probation officer, but received very little support.

Not long after, Danny got in trouble for stealing the van. He spent some time in juvey, but Ryan and Gail felt it was just a slap on the wrist.

“He needed help,” Gail said. “And he didn’t get it.”

In May of 2002, things got even more difficult after Danny turned 18. As a legal adult, he felt he no longer needed to follow their rules, and he got more and more disrespectful. Eventually, he told them he was moving out and going to live with his grandfather on Henderson Lake… about a half mile away.

“I feel like we failed him,” Gail said. “But we just couldn’t live that way.”

The pain is still raw. They still have some of Danny’s clothes in a bin in their attic.

“I’m just not ready to give them up,” Gail said. “I don’t know why.”

Ryan nodded. “I look at Danny every day,” he said, pointing toward his tool bench.

I looked over and noticed a hand-drawn caricature on the wall.

“Is that him?” I asked.

“Yeah, that’s Danny,” Gail replied. “At the Renaissance Fair.”

The artist had exaggerated all of Danny’s biggest and best features – his curly hair, twinkly eyes, smirky grin, and a splash of freckles across his nose.

In that moment, I looked at that face and saw only a boy… not a juvenile delinquent, or a drug addict, or any of the other labels so many people have tried to put on Danny Newville.

He is none of those things.

Danny Newville was a boy who made a few bad choices, but those choices didn’t define him or the kind of person he was. He was kind, and funny, and had plans for his future. He was loved deeply by his father, mother, step-mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and friends.

Danny Newville was a lover of life… a twinkly-eyed, freckle-nosed kid with a smirky smile and a heart the size of Texas. He loved hanging out with his family, playing chess and 31, making mix CDs, and going fishing with his dad. More than anything he just wanted to be liked… to fit in… and to make people laugh.

Read next… “Danny Newville – A talk with his dad”

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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

Read comments

Danny Newville – His friend Morgan

Click to download PDF

We are less than one week away from the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk taking place on Saturday, August 4th in New London. The walk starts at 11 AM at New London Spicer High School, and continues down Main Street for about one mile, ending at Danny’s tree, planted five years ago in Old Grey Park. I’ll be there, and I encourage everyone who has followed this story to join me in supporting Danny’s family and friends in their efforts to find answers and keep the conversation going. Click the flyer for more information.

Along those same lines, I also helped Danny’s dad, Russ, set up a new Facebook page last week called “Find Danny Newville.” Please take a moment to check it out and “Like” the page in order to continue following Danny’s story and to receive ongoing updates. The address is www.facebook.com/finddannynewville.

As I near the one year mark since I started writing about Danny’s case, I have been taking the time to reach out to some of his best friends and family members to learn more about Danny and the kind of person he was.

Last week, I sat down with Danny’s good friend, Morgan, at Zorbaz on Green Lake in Spicer. We sat outside on the patio while he and a co-worker were on break from a construction job in the area.

Morgan is 37 now and owns his own contracting business in the Alexandria area. I told him that when I’d asked Russ for a list of Danny’s best friends, he’d given me Morgan’s name and told me about a tattoo he had on his arm in memory of Danny. I asked Morgan about it. He showed me a picture and explained what it meant.

“The blue cross represents peace on Danny’s soul. Red was for blood shed. The stone wall represents a grave, and a question mark for where the grave is.”

Clearly, Danny had been an important person in Morgan’s life. I asked him how they had met.

Morgan told me that in 1993, when he was 12 years old and in 7th grade, his family moved from Willmar to Spicer. He met Danny Newville at Saulsbury Beach on Green Lake, right next to the restaurant where we were now sitting. He said they hit it off right away. Danny was friendly, funny, outgoing, and liked to joke around. They quickly became friends.

Morgan’s family lived on a smaller lake not far from Green. It was a new development back then, and their house was one of the first to be built in the neighborhood. Danny would always come over and help Morgan finish his chores so they could go biking, swimming, fishing… or whatever else was on their agenda that day.

“Danny was always helping me mow the lawn, pick rocks, or rake weeds on the beach. He was kind… the type of guy who would give you the shirt right off his back. He had high hopes for his life, even though he had it kind of rough. He was always positive, never down.”

He said they rode bike together all the time with two other friends, Steve and Jason. They liked to ride the trails through the woods behind the Spicer cemetery.

Morgan was three years older than Danny, and when he was about 15, he started getting in trouble.

“I had to learn the hard way,” he told me.

Morgan moved away from the area for three years. When he returned to the New London-Spicer area at age 18, he and Danny didn’t see each other as much, but they remained good friends.

In the summer of 2002 (the year Danny disappeared), Morgan convinced Danny to move to Florida with him and another friend, Travis. Danny was all-in, but couldn’t go because he had recently been arrested for a probation violation and had been sentenced to 60 days in jail.

To this day, Morgan regrets that Danny couldn’t go with them when he and Travis left for Florida.

His younger sister is the one who told him that Danny had disappeared. Morgan had only been living in Florida for a short time, but when he found out that Danny had gone missing, he packed up his things and was back within 24 hours.

He started knocking on doors and asking questions. At one point, the police even told him to cool it, otherwise he was going to end up looking like the bad guy. So… he cooled it.

He admits it has been a long and frustrating 16 years waiting for answers. I asked Morgan what he thinks happened to Danny.

“I guess I’ve always assumed it was drug related,” he told me. But, then, almost as an afterthought, Morgan asked me something that kind of threw me for a loop.

“What do you think about that guy who killed Jacob Wetterling?” he asked me. “Do you think he could he have taken Danny?”

I asked him why he thought that.

“Because I was also attacked,” he said.

In the summer of 1997, Morgan was 16 years old and was home on a pass from the juvenile detention facility where he was staying. His younger sister (who was 13 or 14 at the time) wanted to sneak out after dark and go to a party at her friend’s house. It was about 2 1/2 miles away… a 15 minute bike ride from their house… but it was late, and she would be biking on the Glacial Lakes State Trail all by herself in the middle of the night. Morgan was worried about her going by herself, so he agreed to go with her.

When they got close to the house where the party was being held, they got off their bikes and hid them in the weeds.

“We’re only staying for a little while,” Morgan told his sister. “A half hour or 45 minutes at most.”

They left their bikes and crossed Highway 23 to get to the party. Less than an hour later, they returned to the trail and hopped on their bikes to ride home. Something wasn’t right. Morgan’s tires were flat.

“All of a sudden I heard this huge roar, and this guy tackled me off my bike and tried to stab me. He was about 5’8”, 250 pounds. He had a hunched back…  like he was bulky around his shoulders… and a hunched neck. He was wearing a dark mask. I’m sure this guy was watching us and overheard us saying we would only be at the party for a little while. It’s like he was waiting for us.”

I asked him to describe the mask. I also asked him whether the guy had tried to grope him.

“It was a full black leather mask. I felt it when I pushed his face away. I pushed back and scraped my back as I was trying to move out from underneath him because he was trying to lay on me. He made a stabbing motion 3 or 4 times downward. I had his arm and yelled for my sister to run. When I got out from underneath him, I kicked him in the face. He groaned and stood up and waved his knife at me in a slashing motion. Then he ran and dove into the woods.”

I asked Morgan if he had ever reported this story to police.

“We didn’t want to get in trouble, so we never reported it. But, some of the other kids at the party must have told their parents because someone called the police, and then the police called my mom. They came to our house and took my slashed tires for evidence. They also told us they’d found a pile of cigarette butts and candy wrappers in the woods, so it looked like this guy had probably been waiting for us.”

I passed all this information along to Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office. He was following up to see if he could find the original police report.

I asked Detective Bauman what the odds were that Danny’s disappearance wasn’t drug related at all. Is it possible he could have been the victim of a random act of violence?

“Nothing has been ruled out,” he told me.

So. Wow. Huh.

The things you learn when you start asking questions.

Read next… “Danny Newville — A talk with his aunt and uncle”

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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


Read comments

Danny Newville – A talk with the lead investigator

As I begin to wrap up my year-long blog story about the Danny Newville missing person case, I’ve been taking some time to connect with Danny’s best friends and family members to learn a bit more about him, and to gather quotes and memories from the people who knew him best. Over the next few weeks, I plan to share some of those stories as the 16 year anniversary of Danny’s disappearance approaches on August 1, 2018.

SAVE THE DATE: 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk on Saturday, August 4, 2018

Along with friends and family, another person I wanted to interview was Detective Sergeant Kent Bauman with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office. He has been the lead investigator on Danny’s case since the very beginning, so I wanted to get his perspective on how he thinks the investigation is going, and whether any of this new attention has made a difference in the past year.

I was able to catch up with Detective Bauman last week and he agreed to speak to me.

I first met with Detective Bauman and Sheriff Dan Hartog last year on August 8, 2017. It had been one week since I’d published my first blog post about Danny’s disappearance, and I was anxious to meet both of them and find out more information about his case.

I found Detective Bauman and Sheriff Hartog to both be polite and respectful. While they were happy to provide general background information on the case, they made it clear they weren’t able to share any confidential details with me since Danny’s case was still an active investigation. However, they were also quick to add that they welcomed my input and encouraged me to speak to anyone who was willing to talk to me.

Throughout the year, I passed along whatever information I could on Danny’s case, often leaving out names or other identifying information whenever someone asked to remain anonymous. While I’m sure this was frustrating, I always found Detective Bauman to be open and accommodating, never pressing for information, but also encouraging me to let people know they could put measures in place to maintain a person’s privacy.

When I sat down to interview Detective Bauman last week, the first thing I asked him was whether this uptick in activity over the past year had been helpful to Danny’s case.

“100% yes,” he said.

Detective Bauman went on to tell me that the new attention to Danny’s case generated a lot of discussion and a lot of new interest in the case. Not only was he receiving information through me and my blog, but also from other people who were contacting him directly.

“Danny’s name and story began to enter people’s conversations again,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we wanted.”

Next, I asked Detective Bauman how many new leads had been generated in the past year.

He had done his homework prior to our interview, and reported that he had received 20 new leads in Danny’s case since I started blogging about it. Specifically, that means he logged 20 new items into the case file… whether those be conversations with people he’d never spoken to before, or pieces of new information that hadn’t previously been investigated or discussed.

“It stirred up a lot of stuff I’ve never covered,” he told me. “When we went back and reviewed the timeline, we also looked at other events that were happening around the same time Danny disappeared. Some were of new interest… things we hadn’t heard before.”

Going forward, I was particularly interested to know what might be helpful to the investigation.

“Continue to talk about it,” Detective Bauman told me. “Someone knows something, and as people continue to grow out of old habits and vices, maybe they have something they want to get off their chests. Maybe it’s a secret that needs to be told.”

I mentioned to Detective Bauman that most people seem to believe Danny was killed over a drug debt. In my conversations with various individuals over the past year, I learned there were a lot of local drug dealers in our small town of New London. When Danny disappeared, it seems they all started pointing their fingers at one other, and this led to a culture of fear among that generation of kids. “Keep your mouth shut or you’ll end up like Danny Newville,” became a running threat.

Detective Bauman agreed with this assessment. He added that, generationally, many of these “party kids” from the early 2000s are now adults with children of their own. He hopes that if someone does have something to share, this discussion might trigger a sense of parental instinct for them… something most of them didn’t have 16 years ago.

I wondered about this. Knowing that Detective Bauman was a parent himself, I asked him what it’s been like to work on a long term missing person’s case like this.

“It’s hard to be so attached to a case,” he replied. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and thought to myself… what about this, or why can’t I figure this out, or what am I missing? This one definitely tops the charts in that respect.”

However, Detective Bauman is quick to add that no matter what his level of frustration, he knows it’s at least tenfold for the family. More than anything, he wants to find answers for them.

“I’ve grown a lot in my job, and I’ve learned a lot with this case. It has been an unbelievably difficult case with lots of ups and downs. A lot of information has come to us over the years, and it’s my job to try and sift through what’s credible and what’s not. I’m constantly asking myself how we can verify things, because that adds strength to anything.”

As I neared the end of my list of questions, I asked Detective Bauman if there was anything else he wanted to add.

“You hear about cold cases getting solved all over the world,” he said. “I hope this is one of them. I’m still hopeful we’ll find that missing piece to the puzzle. After so many years, we all want to close this thing and provide answers for Danny’s family and friends. That’s what’s most important.”

Read next… Danny Newville – His friend Morgan

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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

Read comments

Danny Newville – The snake trail

As we near the 16th anniversary of Danny Newville’s disappearance on August 1st, I’m going to start wrapping up my blog story about his case. Over the next few weeks, I plan to do a wrap-up interview with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, as well as a tribute piece with quotes and memories from Danny’s friends and family. If you would be willing to share a few thoughts for this story, please send me a private message on my Contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Click to download PDF

Also, I want to remind everyone to put Saturday, August 4th on your calendar for the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk. I’ll be there, along with Danny’s dad, stepmom, and several of his friends and family members. We’ll meet at New London Spicer High School at 11 AM and walk to Danny’s tree at Old Grey Park in downtown New London. I know Danny’s family would love to see a big crowd, so if you can, please join us and show your support! Click the image of the flyer on the right to download a PDF that you can print out and share. Thanks everyone!

OK… now on to the snake trail.

If you read my previous post titled “Danny Newville – A few theories,” you’ll remember that Theory #4 spelled out the possibility that something might have happened to Danny while he was walking to his friend’s house around sunrise on Thursday, August 1st.

Personally, I like this theory best because it seems to fit with what everyone has been telling me over the past year. According to witnesses, Danny left the “party house” during the early morning hours of August 1st. After cutting through the backyards and coming out to the main road, Danny would have either taken Highway 9 north to County Road 148, then turned left (west) and continued on his way until he got to the trailer park.

However, there was also another possible route that Danny might have taken that day. In 2002, there was a shortcut between downtown and Peaceful Hills that started behind the baseball field on First Avenue, and wound around the tree line and across a field, ending at the trailer park. The kids called it “the snake trail.”

Danny’s route if he would have taken the snake trail

So, just 25 days out from the date of Danny’s disappearance on August 1st, and under similar weather conditions, I decided to walk this route myself and see if I could re-trace Danny’s steps.

I first went to Google Earth and looked at a current satellite view of the area.

Imagery date 4/28/2015

Next, I accessed the historical imagery area of Google Earth to see what the same area would have looked like on August 1, 2002. Here’s a satellite view from May 31, 2003, less than one year later.

Imagery date 5/31/2003

As I walked the route with my black lab, Zoey, I took some video along the way and tried to figure out where Danny might have cut through to get to the trailer park.

As we walked, I also tried to imagine where Danny might have run into trouble along the route. Did someone jump him on his way to his friend’s house? Was he being followed? Did someone see him walking and offer him a ride? Was he forced into a car?

The more I imagined, the more questions I had.

How many people had cell phones in 2002? When Danny called his friend for a ride, did he call from a landline or a cell phone? If he called from a landline, was it a cordless phone? Is it possible Danny’s call could have been intercepted by a portable scanner? Was someone lying in wait for Danny somewhere along the route? If someone “got him” on his way to Peaceful Hills, was it drug related? Was he fronting drugs for someone? Behind on a debt? Was he taken, beaten, and accidentally killed? Was he taken, beaten, and intentionally killed?

Or… what if Danny Newville’s disappearance wasn’t drug related at all? And if so, where does that leave us? I’ll try to tackle that question next time.

For now, take a look at the video and let me know your thoughts. I’m especially interested to hear from any former neighborhood kids who actually did walk this path back in the day. (Where did you cut through??)

Read next… Danny Newville – A talk with the lead investigator


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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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

Read comments

Danny Newville Memorial Walk – Save the date!

5th Annual Memorial Walk is Saturday, August 4th

For the past 10 1/2 months, I’ve been writing about 18 year old Danny Newville’s disappearance from my own town of New London, Minnesota in 2002. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I first started blogging about Danny’s case. (Read from the beginning…)

Back in July 2014, a co-worker of mine asked if I would share the information about Danny’s First Memorial Walk on my blog. It was held Saturday, August 2nd, and a small group of family and friends gathered to make the trek from New London Spicer High School, down Main Street, through downtown, and ending at Old Grey Park. There, they shared memories and planted a tree in Danny’s honor. If you haven’t already seen the video, please take a moment to watch it here: https://youtu.be/MFSZo5j5rhw

This year, Danny’s family and friends will once again gather at NLS High School for the 5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk. The event starts at 11am, followed by a BBQ afterward at Henderson Lake.

Click image to download and print a PDF.

I asked Danny’s father, Russ, if I could put together a flyer to help promote this year’s event and he was happy for the offer. He wanted me to stress that all are welcome, and that he and Lidia (Danny’s stepmom) are thankful for all the tips and support this past year.

Baker Printing of Spicer generously offered to print the flyers at no cost. Please help us spread the word by printing a copy of this flyer and taping it up at work. I would love to see a big crowd turn out for this year’s event, and would also love a chance to thank all the people who have helped me try and piece together Danny’s story this past year.

A Facebook event has been created at the following link. Please let us know if you plan to attend, and share the event on your newsfeed.

5th Annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk

See you on Saturday, August 4th!

Read next… Danny Newville – The snake trail

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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

Read comments

Danny Newville – A few theories

Danny Newville has been missing from New London, Minnesota since August 1, 2002

It’s been almost nine months since I first started blogging about Danny Newville here on joythecurious.com. Danny was 18 years old when he disappeared from my own small town of New London, Minnesota, on August 1, 2002. Last year marked the 15 year anniversary of Danny’s disappearance, so that prompted me to share his story, in hopes of rejuvenating the investigation and encouraging people to come forward with any information they may have that might help solve the case.

Since then, I’ve talked to a lot of people about Danny… friends, relatives, schoolmates, teachers, investigators, inmates… you name it. You would think most people wouldn’t care about a missing 18 year old — a legal adult — who was getting in trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd and, according to locals, probably killed over a drug debt. But, that simply isn’t the case. Everyone I’ve talked to… and I mean everyone… really liked Danny. He was an easy person to like, and they’ve all told me the same thing over and over… he didn’t deserve whatever happened to him, and they’ll do whatever they can to help.

Unfortunately, that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

As you can imagine, some of this gets a little dicey. While people say they want to help, they are also wary… and for good reason. Clearly, the people involved in Danny’s disappearance (and presumed death) are dangerous. We know there were drugs involved, and as it stands, the person or persons who know what happened to Danny are likely still out there. More accurately, they are likely still out HERE… right here, where we all live.

With that in mind, I will speak in generalities. While everyone says they want to help find Danny, I am mindful of the fact that most of these “kids” are now parents themselves. I would never share anything that might endanger someone or their family, regardless of whether I have been given permission to do so or not. For that reason, I will withhold the names of any people I have spoken to, as well as the names of any suspects I have learned about along the way.

Another thing I will do is assume that everyone is telling me the truth. I have no reason to believe anyone I’ve spoken to is lying, or that they’re trying to mislead me with wrong information. So, that’s how I intend to proceed with this post. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has shared their stories with me, and I know for certain it has helped breathe new life into Danny’s case.

So, with all that being said, let’s begin.

Theory #1 — Danny was killed at a house party

Before I even started blogging about Danny’s disappearance, the general buzz around town was that Danny had been beaten to death in the basement of the “party house.” Rumor is, those who were there covered up the crime and disposed of his body.

The “party house,” as it appeared in a 2017 news story about Danny Newville on KSTP. The house has been under new ownership since 2006.

Theory #2 — Danny OD’d at the house party.

Some believe that Danny either accidentally OD’d while he was at the party house that night, or that he intentionally was given bad drugs which led to his death. His body was disposed of so those who were with him wouldn’t get caught.

Theory #3 — Danny walked away and disappeared on his own

Danny had just gotten out of jail the day before he disappeared. He was 60 days clean, so maybe he decided to just ignore his drug debts, get the heck out of Dodge, and start over somewhere new. However, even if Danny had wanted to walk away and start fresh, would he really let his friends and family suffer like this for all these years? Those who know him best tell me absolutely not. No way.

Theory #4 — Something happened to Danny while he was walking to his friend’s house around sunrise on Thursday, August 1st.

I’ve talked to two people who say Danny was still alive at 5:30 AM on the morning of Thursday, August 1st. One person says he spoke to Danny on the phone around 5:30 AM because Danny called for a ride. Another person says he actually saw and spoke to Danny at the party house around this same time.

So, if Danny left the party house around 5:30 AM on Thursday, August 1st to walk to his friend’s house in Peaceful Hills, maybe someone “got him” somewhere along the way. But, who? And why?

Danny’s general path if he would have taken the “snake trail” instead of the road.

I don’t want to speculate on any of these theories, because I simply don’t know enough to have an educated opinion. Was Danny really killed over a drug debt? Were people so “methed-up” that they accidentally killed Danny? Did Danny die of a drug overdose? I have no idea.

Here’s something I do know. There was one man who scared the bejeezus out of all these kids. They say he was evil, ruthless… not right in the head. He was a big dealer, “the one with all the shit.” They also tell me he disappeared around the same time Danny did.

I’ve talked to several people about this guy. Besides being a drug dealer, I’ve heard he was also a drug runner, arsonist, sexual predator, and human trafficker. He frequently made terroristic threats, and if anyone owed him money, he always found a way to get it back. For as tough as these kids were, and for as much as they had been through in their young lives, they were all deathly afraid of this guy.

Did Danny owe this guy money? Was he at the party house on the night Danny disappeared? Did he have anything to do with Danny’s disappearance?

Again, I have no idea. But, here’s one more thing I definitely know.

Danny’s dad, Russ, and his stepmom, Lidia, so very desperately want to know what happened to their son. They want to know where he is so they can visit him, grieve for him, and begin to heal. It’s the waiting and wondering that’s impossible to bear.

Read next… Danny Newville Memorial Walk – Save the date!

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

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

If you’d prefer, you may also contact me using the Contact form on this site.

You may also mail anonymous tips to:

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

Read comments

Danny Newville – An updated timeline

In my last post, I mentioned I would be sharing some new theories, but before I do that, I’d like to update Danny’s timeline a bit. I’ve been trying to piece together his last day, but also, what was happening in Danny’s life just prior to that.

Kandiiyohi County Jail. Photo credit: West Central Tribune.

On July 31, 2002, Danny had just been released from the Kandiyohi County Jail. His dad, Russ, told me he’d been serving a 45 day sentence for a probation violation, but I was unsure what that violation was, or why he had been on probation in the first place.

In talking to one of Danny’s friends, I learned he had stolen a van sometime during 2001 and had spent some time at the juvenile detention center in Willmar for that offense. I assumed this is why Danny had been on probation at the time he was picked up in 2002, but I wasn’t sure. I checked with Detective Kent Bauman, the lead investigator on Danny’s case, but he was unable to share that information with me since Danny had been a juvenile at the time. For the same reason, he couldn’t share the exact reason for Danny’s probation violation either.

Dead end.

However, then I asked Detective Bauman if I could get a copy of Danny’s booking report from the Kandiyohi County Jail. Because Danny was a legal adult at the time he was transferred from juvenile detention to the adult jail, I figured this report would be public record. Turns out, it was.

So then, why was Danny in jail in the first place? According to the report, it appears he had been serving time for the following offenses at the time he was transferred to the adult jail:


These all seem to jibe with the story I was told about Danny stealing a van and going joyriding in it with his friend. Maybe the charges stemmed from separate incidents, but whatever the case, Danny was serving out his sentence for these crimes he had previously committed.

I noticed one other small thing on the booking report… a reference to a tattoo Danny had on his right wrist… a single dot. I wondered what that meant. Does a single dot on your right wrist signify something? I have no idea… just curious.

Now then, back to the timeline. Here’s what I’ve managed to piece together so far. Keep in mind, none of this information has been verified by law enforcement. It is simply a running account of what I’ve gathered after talking to several of Danny’s friends and acquaintances.

Read next… Danny Newville – A few theories


Danny Newville Timeline

6/24/2002Danny is transferred from the juvenile detention center to the Kandiyohi County Jail.
7/31/2002~1:00 PMDanny is released from the Kandiyohi County Jail.
Danny calls his friend B.K. to pick him up from jail. She is unable to pick him up because her car is broken down.
Danny calls his friend A.K. to pick up him up from jail. She drives into Willmar to pick him up and brings him back to the "party house"
Danny calls his friend R.H. from the party house. R.H. says Danny doesn't sound stressed or scared, but he does seem to "have a lot of energy."
Danny leaves the party house to walk over to his friend A.M.'s house in the Peaceful Hills trailer park.
Danny hangs out with A.M. and they chat in the front yard for a while. According to A.M., Danny doesn't seem stressed or afraid, and not long after, two girls show up in a car and Danny leaves with them.
Danny returns home to his grandfather’s house in Spicer. He showers and changes clothes. He calls his dad and asks him to leave his fishing pole out so he can swing by and pick it up later.
Danny returns to the party house.
8:40 PMSunset
After darkJ.N. spots Danny walking after dropping her kids off at their father's house near downtown New London. She offers him a ride and drops him back off at A.M.'s house again, in Peaceful Hills.
Danny returns to the party house.
8/1/2002~5:30 AMDanny calls A.M. and asks for a ride back to his house. A.M. doesn't have access to a car, so Danny tells him he's going to walk.
~5:30 AMG.P. stops by the party house after fishing and sees Danny there. They chat for a bit. G.P. has never met Danny before.
~5:30 AMDanny leaves the party house to walk back to his friend A.M.'s house.
5:58 AMSunrise


If you have a tip about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact:

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

You may also mail anonymous tips to:
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

Read comments

Danny Newville – Getting real

I apologize. I know these posts have been few and far between lately, but I promise, I haven’t been slacking. Since my last post, I’ve been talking to a lot of people and trying to piece things together.

I’ve learned a lot… little tidbits here and there that have started to form a clearer picture of the life Danny was leading before he disappeared. Mostly though, I’ve learned a lot about New London… this town where I live… my peaceful little “City on the Pond.” As it turns out, things were not so peaceful here back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Just to recap… Danny Newville was allegedly last seen in the early morning hours of August 1, 2002 at a house party near downtown New London. He had just been released from the Kandiyohi County Jail that previous afternoon, after serving a 45 day sentence for a probation violation. He had turned 18 a few months prior (May 7th), so this was the first time Danny had ever served time in the adult prison.

In talking to one of Danny’s close friends, he asked me why Danny had been in jail in the first place… what was he in for? I told him that Danny’s father had told me it was for a probation violation, but I realized I didn’t know exactly what that violation was. I also didn’t know why Danny had been on probation at the time. I said I would check.

Danny’s friend went on to tell me that, in 2001, when he was 18 and Danny was 17, Danny had stolen a van and the two of them had gone joyriding in it. From what he could remember, the van belonged to a friend’s grandmother, and she knew Danny had taken it. However, when Danny hadn’t returned it after several days, it was reported stolen. Because he was only 17 at the time, Danny served time at the juvenile detention facility in Willmar for theft. His 18 year old friend was charged with harboring a stolen vehicle and had to serve time at the adult jail.

It seemed logical that this would have been the reason why Danny was on probation, but I decided to confirm this with Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office. He was unable to tell me Danny’s exact violation since it had occurred while he was still a juvenile. For the same reason, Detective Bauman was unable to tell me exactly how Danny had violated his probation. All he could legally tell me was that Danny had “failed to comply with the conditions of his probation,” meaning, he hadn’t followed the rules the judge had set for him. This could mean something as minor as failing to show up at a mandated meeting with his probation officer, all the way to getting picked up on a criminal charge. From what his friends have told me though, it didn’t seem like it was anything all that serious. He had only served 45 days, after all.

I asked Danny’s friend what he thought might have happened to Danny. He said he always figured it was drug related. He told me he had talked to Danny that day… the same day he got out of jail. Danny called him from the “party house,” sometime between 2:00-3:00 PM. He said he was just hanging out, and didn’t seem stressed about anything. One thing though. His friend did mention that Danny’s energy level was high, making him wonder whether Danny was “doped up” at the time he called him.

I wondered about this. Danny didn’t have a job, so if he was getting high, how was he paying for the drugs? His buddy had the same question. He wondered if Danny was possibly fronting drugs for someone.

OK… so, let’s talk about this “party house” for a moment. One of the people who lived there at the time has been very candid with me. Yes, there were underage kids who partied there. Yes, there were drugs being used there. And yes, there were even drugs being sold there. People came in and out at all hours, and to outsiders, it looked sketchy.

But for insiders, this house was a refuge. It was a place for friends to gather when they needed a place to stay, to get some food, or to feel safe. These were scrappy kids who learned at a young age to depend on themselves. Some came looking for a meal because there was nothing to eat at home. Some came to escape physical or verbal abuse. Some just wanted to hang out with friends who accepted them. But, one thing was always abundantly clear… these kids all had each other’s backs.

So… now let’s go back a few years earlier… to 1996. It was just before midnight on Friday, May 17th, and there was supposed to be a fist fight out at the ballfield by the DNR ponds. It may have started over a busted car window, but who knows. Whatever the case, things escalated quickly.

That same night, a fifteen year old girl was babysitting her two nieces (ages two and four) at her brother’s place in the Peaceful Hills trailer park. Suddenly, shots rang out from a car outside. The trailer was sprayed with bullets from a .22 caliber rifle and the girl was shot once in the abdomen and once in the hip.

The kids who were at the ballfield waiting for the fist fight to begin heard the shots and ran toward them. They followed the “snake trail” through the woods and arrived at Peaceful Hills faster than those who had jumped in their cars and driven there.

Read the article from the May 20, 1996 edition of the West Central Tribune

The girl lived. However, to this day, she still has a bullet lodged in her liver because it was too dangerous to remove surgically.

Things got scary after that. According to the girl who got shot, “everyone wigged out” and the stakes suddenly got much higher for this scrappy group of survivors.

So where was Danny in this mess? Nowhere. He was only 12 years old at the time, going to school and playing with his friends, just like any other 12 year old.

But, let’s be honest. Things weren’t all rosy for Danny and his family either. That same year, one of Danny’s uncles was convicted for drug trafficking and was sentenced to 132 months in federal prison.

A year later — when Danny was 13 — he started getting rebellious and skipping school. His family worried that he might be hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Also in 1997, drug enforcement officers raided the “party house” in New London, looking for drugs, guns, and other illegal activity. They found nothing. It would be five years before they returned again, this time looking for a missing 18 year old boy named Danny Newville.

Read next… Danny Newville – An updated timeline

If you have a tip about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact:

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: 320-214-6700, x3315
Email: 3315@co.kandiyohi.mn.us
Facebook Messenger:

You may also mail anonymous tips to:
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
2201 NE 23rd St, Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201

Read comments

Danny Newville – His best friend

I’ve been talking to a few people who were able to add some more details to Danny’s last day. If you read my previous post, you’ll recall one of my questions was how Danny had managed to arrive at his grandfather’s house on Henderson Lake in Spicer (about seven miles away) since he didn’t have a car. Someone must have given him a ride, but I didn’t know who.

I also wondered if Danny’s friend who lived in the Peaceful Hills trailer park had seen Danny that day. That’s where Danny was headed after leaving “the party house” earlier in the afternoon. He started out walking that direction, but did he ever make it? Had he spoken to his friend once he got there? If so, did he seem agitated about anything? And finally, is this the friend who had given Danny a ride to his grandfather’s house?

I decided to get a hold of Danny’s friend and ask him. He asked that I not use his name, but he was happy to hear I was researching Danny’s case. He told me Danny was like a brother to him and he still misses him every single day. “Danny was one of the only people I have ever known as a true friend and person,” he said. “I would do anything to help find him.”

It turns out, Danny DID make it to his friend’s house that afternoon. He remembers they chatted in the front yard for a while… nothing out of the ordinary. I asked whether Danny had seemed odd or upset in any way, but he said no, not that he remembers. He did mention that, later, he found out Danny owed money to some out-of-state drug dealers, but he didn’t know that at the time, and he didn’t have any further details.

Next, I asked him how Danny had made it over to his grandfather’s house. Did he drive him? His friend told me no. Not long after Danny arrived at his house, two girls drove up and he left with them. His friend was able to recall the name of one of the girls, but not the other. I wondered if this detail had been passed along to law enforcement, but he wasn’t sure. (As it turns out, it had not.)

Next, I asked Danny’s friend whether he had been at “the party” the night Danny disappeared. He said no, but Danny had called him from “the party house” at 5:30am the next morning, looking for a ride. Unfortunately, he didn’t have access to a car at that time, so he wasn’t able to pick him up.

Here’s the particularly disturbing part about our conversation. About a year after Danny’s disappearance, his friend started working with law enforcement to help with the investigation. Not long after, he was jumped by a group of 5-7 people — three separate times. The attacks happened about a half year apart.

“You were jumped by people who were trying to cover it up??” I asked him.

“Yes,” he replied.

When I asked him if he knew who had attacked him, he said he never saw them.


Incidentally, I talked to a few more people who were able to tell me the name of the other girl in the car who had picked Danny up from his friend’s house on the day he disappeared. Both names have now been passed along to law enforcement.

I also learned that Danny did eventually make it back to his grandfather’s house that afternoon. He showered, changed clothes, and, I assume, called his dad to ask him to set out his fishing pole. At some point, he headed back out again, but I’m not exactly sure what time that was. I’m also not sure what time he returned to “the party house” that evening… or where he had been before he got there.

Can you help fill in any of the gaps? Do you have additional details about the day Danny disappeared? Please share!

Read next… Danny Newville – Getting real

If you have a tip about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact:

Detective Kent Bauman
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
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:


Read comments

Danny Newville – His last day

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last day Danny was seen before he disappeared. After speaking to so many different people, I’ve wondered what was going on his life, what his immediate plans were after getting released from jail, and what thoughts were going through his head on that day. After trying to piece together all those conversations in order to recreate his last day, I think I still have more questions than answers.

Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together so far.

On Wednesday, July 31st, Danny was released from the Kandiyohi County Jail in Willmar after serving 45 days for a probation violation. He had just turned 18 a few months earlier (May 7), so for the first time, he was serving out his sentence as an adult at the county jail versus Prairie Lakes Juvenile Detention Center.

I’ve wondered what was going through Danny’s head on the day he entered that jail. Danny’s physical stature was small and slight, and he was by no means a hardened career criminal. I’m sure he was terrified at the thought of having to spend 45 days at the adult jail. I’ve been told he was a good-looking young man, but the drug addiction was beginning to take its toll. He had lost a lot of weight in recent months, and the dark circles under his eyes spoke volumes about his lack of sleep.

On the day Danny was released, Wednesday, July 31, he called a friend to come and pick him up at the jail. She lived at the house where the alleged “party” would take place later that night, and she recalls that it was sometime between 1pm and 2pm that she picked Danny up and brought him back to her house.

The home where Danny was last seen, as pictured in a March 2017 news story on KSTP

I wondered about this, too. You’d think after being in jail for 45 days, Danny would have wanted to go home, take a shower, and sleep in his own bed. But, maybe Danny made this decision because “home” was a fuzzy term for him during this time of his life. He had spent the previous two years living with his aunt and uncle in Spicer, but after turning 18 in May, he had moved in with his grandfather at his home on Henderson Lake. More often than not, though, Danny would stay at his friend’s house in the Peaceful Hills development in New London. Maybe he was stir crazy and just wanted to see what was shaking. Maybe he was lonely and wanted to catch up with his friends. Who knows, but it surprised me that he wouldn’t want to get dropped off at home first… wherever “home” happened to be.

Some time around 2pm or 2:30pm, Danny called his dad, Russ, and asked him to leave his fishing rod out by the garage so he could swing by and pick it up later that day. (It was that fishing rod that gave Russ his first clue that something might be wrong when Danny hadn’t been by to pick it up after a few days.) I asked Russ where Danny was when he made this call, and he said it was from his grandpa’s house on Henderson Lake. I’m not sure how he got there or when he left. Still working on those details.

According to Danny’s friend who picked him up from jail:

“It was my older brother and I home that day… that’s it. Danny sat and chatted for about 30 minutes, then said he was going out to his friend’s house. He wanted to walk, so he did. He cut through our backyard, which was next to his friend’s Grandma’s place. That was the LAST time we saw him”

I wondered why he wanted to walk. Was it a beautiful summer day?

I decided to check Weather Underground. It turns out Wednesday, July 31, 2002 was extremely hot and humid in Minnesota. By 3pm, the temperature was almost 90° and the dew point was in the 70s. That’s oppressive. Who wants to walk in that kind of heat when they can get a ride instead?

If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that the heat and humidity continued throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. For Minnesota, it is incredibly unusual for the temperature to remain at 80° throughout the night. By our standards, that’s HOT.

Weather Conditions

DateTime (CDT)Temp.Dew PointPrecipConditions
Wed 7/31/200211:53 AM80.1 °F73.0 °FN/AMostly Cloudy
Wed 7/31/20022:53 PM89.1 °F72.0 °FN/AScattered Clouds
Wed 7/31/20025:53 PM90.0 °F72.0 °FN/AScattered Clouds
Wed 7/31/20028:53 PM84.0 °F73.0 °FN/APartly Cloudy
Wed 7/31/200211:53 PM80.1 °F72.0 °FN/AScattered Clouds
Thu 8/1/20022:53 AM81.0 °F69.1 °FN/AClear
Thu 8/1/20025:53 AM79.0 °F70.0 °FN/AMostly Cloudy

Source: https://www.wunderground.com

Some of this might explain why Danny didn’t show up to get his fishing rod that day. Understandably, it was too hot to even go fishing. Instead, it seems Danny decided to return to “the party house” at some point.

I’m not sure of the timing here. According to Danny’s friend who picked him up from jail, there was no party at her house that night. But, according to several other sources, there definitely was a gathering of some sort. People who were there told investigators that Danny left on foot sometime between 5:30am and 6am on Thursday, August 1.

I checked the sunrise on that date. The sun came up at 5:57am CST, so it would make some sense that Danny would wait for daylight before leaving to go back to his friend’s house. Again, partygoers said that Danny cut through the backyard, heading west toward Peaceful Hills. From what I’ve read, many of these people have been polygraphed, so the story seems pretty verifiable.

And, so… that would mean Danny did not die at the party. That is contrary to almost every story I’ve heard over the past two months. It seems most people believe Danny was killed at this so-called “party,” most likely over a drug debt.

From there, the urban myths get pretty horrible. I’ve heard Danny was beaten to death. Danny was dismembered. Danny was burned alive. Suffice it to say, Danny’s disappearance has been used to spread a culture of fear throughout our small community for the past 15 years. Young adults who were part of the drug scene when they were kids were regularly told, “Be careful or you’ll end up like Danny Newville.” I’ve heard this more than once.

So, what REALLY happened to Danny Newville on August 1, 2002? If he left the party on his own, where did he go? Did he O.D. and pass out somewhere? Did someone pick him up? Did someone follow him, kill him, and dump his body?

Danny’s friend told me about a shortcut between her house and Peaceful Hills.

“There was a shortcut to the trailer park. If you go down 2nd Avenue, over by the ball fields… there are houses back there now, but back then there was a gravel road. You’d go along the edge of the DNR property, and that would take you to a “snake trail” that went all the way to the trailer park. All the kids knew about the snake trail. You could get to the trailer park in five minutes instead of 15 minutes by road.”

She wondered if the land around the “snake trail” had ever been searched. I thought it was a good question, so I reached out to Detective Bauman and asked him. He said yes. They searched that area by foot, by air, and with cadaver dogs. I was also told by a DNR officer that the lake behind the “party house” had also been dragged.

Unfortunately though, all these searches didn’t start until 54 days after Danny went missing. Admittedly, that really put investigators behind the eight ball.

So… that’s what I’ve been able to piece together so far. In order to take this any farther, I think I need help. If you can provide more details, fill in gaps, or correct any misinformation, please leave a comment below or contact me using the online form.

Read next… Danny Newville – His best friend


If you have a tip about Danny Newville’s disappearance, please contact:

Detective Kent Bauman:
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
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:

Read comments

Danny Newville – Radio interview

A few weeks ago JP Cola, News Director at Lakeland Broadcasting, contacted me and said he was putting together a news story about Danny Newville. He wondered if I’d be willing to do an interview in order to raise the profile of Danny’s case, and hopefully generate some new leads.

I was happy to oblige, so last Wednesday, I stopped by the radio station in Willmar to visit with JP and discuss Danny’s case. He mentioned that he had also spoken with Detective Kent Bauman at the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, so I’m hopeful the added attention will help shed some new light on the case. Things have definitely slowed down in the past few weeks, so I’ve been at a bit of a standstill. Thanks to JP for helping to keep the conversation going!

The interview will begin airing on Tuesday, October 24.



Radio interview with JP Cola — Lakeland Broadcasting, Willmar, MN

August 1st marked the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of 18-year-old Danny Newville of New London. The case is getting new life thanks to blogger Joy Baker of New London. After her involvement in the Jacob Wetterling case last year, Baker says she decided to focus on the Newville case in her blog called “Joy the Curious”…


(To play, click far left side of black bar.)

…Witnesses told the Sheriff’s Department that Newville was last seen at a party in New London on August 1st 2002. He left the party on foot, reportedly to go to another person’s house, but never arrived. Baker says Newville’s friends and people who might know something are older now, and she hopes they feel like getting it off their chest…



…Baker first wrote about Newville in 2014, and then again August 1st of this year and has done half-a-dozen updates since. Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department Detective Kent Bauman says since Baker got involved, tips have started picking up…



…Bauman has been working the Newville case since the very beginning and after what happened with the Jacob Wetterling case, he hopes this one too will come to a resolution…



…Any information on the Newville case can be called in to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department at 235-1260, 24-hours-a-day. If the info pertains to Newville, it will be forwarded to Bauman. Baker says she would be willing to be an intermediary, if necessary. Go to joybaker.com or joythecurious.com. Baker blogged about previously forgotten child molestation cases in the Paynesville area in the 1980s that eventually created a link to Danny Heinrich, who confessed to killing Jacob Wetterling in October 1989. Last year Heinrich was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Read next… Danny Newville – His last day


Contact Detective Kent Bauman:
Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office
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:

Read comments

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:


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.


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.”

Read next… Danny Newville – Radio interview

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:

Read comments

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:

Read next… Danny Newville – an update

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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.

Read next… Danny Newville – A request from the Sheriff’s Office

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

Read comments

Danny Newville – “Somebody’s boy”

Last week, I received a Facebook message from someone who wanted to talk to me about Danny Newville. About a month ago, she had seen a flyer about Danny’s Memorial Walk pinned to the bulletin board of a local bar/restaurant, and as she stared at it, she wondered who this young man was. She’d never heard of Danny Newville before.

She started asking questions, wondering what in the world had happened to this young man who had disappeared from her own town… and more importantly, why she’d never heard about it. That bothered her… so much in fact, that she went out of her way to learn more about Danny and his case. And that’s what led her to me.

We met for coffee, and I shared what I’d learned so far. Then, she took it upon herself to talk to some of Danny’s friends and family members to learn more about him as a person. Who WAS this 18 year old boy who disappeared from her hometown 15 years ago?

She wrote the following article, and I was so moved by it, I asked if I could share it on my blog. She said sure.

I am so thankful for her passion and her heart.


Somebody’s boy

I grew up in New London-Spicer, but I was living elsewhere when Danny Newville went missing. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I saw a flyer in O’Neils in Spicer that I knew anything about Danny’s disappearance at all. This confused me. How did I not hear about Danny at the time that he vanished? How have I not heard about him over the years? How did I not hear anything about him after moving back to New London years ago?

When asking around, I got similar answers:

It never did turn into any big deal, I don’t remember hearing much about it.

Yeah… I think it didn’t get much publicity because he was into drugs and people like that go missing all the time.

It seemed like it wasn’t that serious… like maybe he left on his own.

This broke my heart. I didn’t hear anything about who Danny was as a person, other than an addict. I didn’t hear any theories about his vanishing until I started asking for more. I would get similar very vague answers, until I asked more questions:

But what exactly did you hear about it?

Were there any theories about what actually happened?

I began to hear a story with common threads. There’s more on that to come, in future posts written by Joy, and maybe me, I don’t know. For now, what I want to start with is Danny’s life, who he was as a person and what memories his family and friends share. When a person goes missing, the public needs to hear more than the fact that they had a criminal lifestyle. While this matters for the sake of the missing person case, addiction isn’t Danny’s whole story.

He was not “just a druggie.” He was somebody’s boy.

Danny was a friend. He was a nephew. He was a grandson. He was a son. He was a part of this community. At just 18 years old, he may not have been doing a fine stand up job of contributing positively to the world around him, but this steals nothing from his value as a human. No one can account for the many ways that people who struggle with addiction still share encouragement and help to others. There is always hope. For every person. Every addict. He was young and had positive influences in his life and potential to change and to grow the good qualities that were always there in him.

Danny was somebody’s boy.

He loved to fish. He always had a lot friends. He was gentle and caring. Despite his tendency to skip school, he got good grades because he was bright. Danny had the capacity to continue to change for the better, if given half a chance. Danny did not receive that chance. It was taken from him, as he was stolen from his family. His life, his story and his disappearance deserve the attention of any other criminal case, publicly, until all the pieces are put together for the sake of his family’s closure and to honor a fellow human being, a person, somebody’s boy.

Read next… Danny Newville – From a friend


If you have additional tidbits or memories to share about Danny, please include a comment below. I know his family would love to see them.

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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Where is Danny Newville?

I’ve been trying to piece together more details about the day 18-year-old Danny Newville went missing from my small town of New London, Minnesota. It happened on August 1, 2002, however, in speaking to investigators, it seems the hardest part for them is trying to piece together what happened in the 54 days AFTER August 1st.

Here’s why.

Danny disappeared on a Thursday. He had just been released from jail after serving a 60 day sentence for a probation violation. He had asked his dad, Russ, to leave his fishing pole out for him before he left for work so he could swing by and pick it up later that day.

Danny had just turned 18 a few months earlier, on May 7, 2002. Up to that point, he had been under the guardianship of his aunt and uncle who lived in neighboring Spicer, but after turning 18, Danny decided to move out and go live with his grandfather who lived just a few blocks away, on Henderson Lake. He was a legal adult, doing his own thing, and keeping his own schedule. Often, he would stay with friends without checking in with his grandfather, so it wasn’t unusual that he would be gone for long stretches of time.

On Wednesday, July 31, 2002, Danny left the Kandiyohi County jail and, at some point, arrived at the “party” near downtown New London. It wasn’t so much of a party as it was an all-day get-together with people dropping in and out throughout the day. According to partygoers, it was around midnight when Danny said he was leaving to walk back to his friend’s house in the Peaceful Hills neighborhood of New London. It was about a mile away and he should have been able to make it in 15-20 minutes or so.

He never made it.

Here’s a Google map that shows the general path Danny would have taken. (Note, these are not actual addresses, just general locations of where the party took place and where his friend lived.)

There is a lot of speculation as to what actually happened at this so-called “party” that night, and whether Danny really did leave on his own to walk back to his friend’s house. I, myself, have heard many rumors over the years, so I decided to contact the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) last week to get an update and make sure my facts were straight.

I spoke with Detective Kent Bauman and Sheriff Dan Hartog last Tuesday, August 8th. Detective Bauman has been assigned to Danny’s case since they first started investigating it back in 2002. Unfortunately, the investigation has been particularly difficult because they got such a late start on it.

Danny was a legal adult and it wasn’t unusual for him to be “off the grid” for a few days at a time. However, when Russ noticed that Danny still hadn’t stopped by to pick up his fishing pole after several days, that’s when he started asking questions. He called some of Danny’s friends, but got the same basic answer… they hadn’t seen Danny since the party on August 1st.

Russ told me that he first made contact with Willmar Police within 10 days of Danny going missing. However, an official signed report was never filed at that time.

Authorities first learned of Danny’s disappearance when he failed to contact his probation officer in mid-August. By then, he had been missing for two weeks, but because he had turned 18 just months earlier, law enforcement could only issue an “Attempt to Locate” bulletin versus an official “Missing Person” bulletin. I asked Detective Bauman what the difference was.

“An ‘Attempt to Locate’ basically means that if an officer sees the missing person, or has contact, they would then contact that person’s family and let them know. This would be something that is done inside our jurisdiction only, and short of a ‘signed’ missing person’s report that would be put into a state/national database. Typically, an ATL is put out when the subject is not believed to be a runaway or endangered, etc.”

Then, on September 24, 2002, things abruptly changed. Fifty-four days after Danny had last been seen, Kandiyohi County Dispatch received an anonymous phone call from someone who said Danny Newville’s body had been dumped near his grandfather’s property in Spicer.

Law enforcement immediately started investigating the lead and got a signed missing person’s report from Danny’s parents. The information about Danny’s body turned out to be a rumor, but still, they brought in cadaver dogs and did air searches of the area, hoping to find some clue. Unfortunately, they found nothing. They began interviewing partygoers and giving polygraphs, but by then, the rumor mill was already churning and it was hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Detective Bauman says that’s another part of what makes this investigation so difficult. These rumors of what may have happened to Danny Newville scare people and prevent them from talking. Most believe he was a victim of foul play, but Detective Bauman says they can’t even be sure of that. People have told him that Danny was killed the night of the party and that his body was dumped somewhere, but they can’t be sure of that either. Most people also believe that drugs played a part in Danny’s final hours, but rumors range all the way from a simple overdose, to Danny owing someone money, to Danny being a jailhouse snitch.

Here’s the deal. At the end of the day, that is not my battle. All I know for sure is that Danny’s family wants to find him, and if there’s anything I can do to help in that effort, I’m willing to try.

I asked Detective Bauman what people could do if they had a lead but were too afraid to talk. He said the best thing to do is just mail an anonymous letter to their department. They take every lead seriously, but he says they can’t just go digging up properties with a backhoe unless the information is credible and fits with what they already know. For that reason, he encourages people to be specific, even though they may absolutely remain anonymous.

Here’s the address:

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

Finally, here’s Danny’s official missing person flyer from the Minnesota BCA. If you have any information about Danny’s whereabouts, please share. It’s been 15 years. It’s time.

Read next… Danny Newville – “Somebody’s boy”

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Danny Newville – Missing since 2002

Today — August 1, 2017 — marks the 15th anniversary of 18-year-old Danny Newville’s disappearance from my small town of New London, Minnesota. I first shared Danny’s story back on July 30, 2014 when a co-worker asked me to help promote the first annual Danny Newville Memorial Walk. Since then, I’ve thought many times about sharing more of Danny’s story, but it’s difficult. And complicated.

Danny’s story is different from others I’ve written about. In this case, his family and friends are sure he is deceased. There’s no hope of finding Danny alive… of that, they’re certain. But, that doesn’t stop them from searching. They just want Danny back.

Since 2014, Danny’s family has been holding an annual Memorial Walk in his honor. They start at New London-Spicer High School, then proceed across the Mill Pond, through downtown, turn right at Skindelien’s gas station, and end at Old Grey Park. It was there they planted a tree for Danny on the first year of the walk.

View a video from the first year of the walk…

This past Saturday, Danny’s family held the fourth annual Memorial Walk to honor his memory. It was a beautiful day and over 50 people attended the event. I talked to Danny’s dad, Russ, and he sent me the following photos to share.

Here’s where the story gets complicated. Danny was hanging out with a tough crowd, and on the day he disappeared, Danny had just been released from jail for a probation violation. He went to a house party near downtown New London that evening and was never seen or heard from again. He was out of jail by noon; gone by midnight.

His dad, Russ, has heard all kinds of rumors. There were drugs at the party. Danny owed someone money. Danny was a snitch. Danny OD’ed. They killed him. Hit him over the head. Slit his throat. Cut up his body. Buried him in a drain field.

It’s all horrible… which is why I never wanted to write about any of it. But, here’s the thing. Danny Newville was only 18 years old. Eighteen. He was just a kid. He’s from my own small town of New London, and he has a family who loves him and desperately wants him back so they can give him a proper burial.

I guess the least I can do is share Danny’s story here and hope to keep the conversation going. You just never know.

Russ believes some of the horrible rumors may be true, but what’s complicating matters is that people are too scared to talk. He is 100% convinced that he could find out what happened to Danny if the right person would just be willing to come forward and share what they know.

Danny was born May 7, 1984 to Russ and Cyndy Newville. He was raised by his father and his step-mother, Lidia, after Russ and Cyndy divorced in 1989. Danny also has two half-siblings on his mother’s side – Lyndsey and Ryan.

Russ told me that Danny was always very kind to people. He loved to fish and got along with everybody. When he was about 13, Danny started getting rebellious and skipping school. He fell in with the wrong crowd of people and was eventually taken away from Russ and had to live in a group home. He hated it there and ran away often.

About six months before his 18th birthday, Danny ran away and was living with a friend in New London. After he turned 18, authorities arrested him for a probation violation, and he was sentenced to 45 days in jail. On the day he was released, August 1, 2002, he went to the party and that’s the last anyone has ever seen of him.

Earlier this year, on March 5, 2017, KSTP ran the following story on Danny Newville, which was part of a series on missing Minnesotans.


Danny’s mom, Cyndy, passed away in 2006, just four years after her son’s disappearance. She never recovered from the loss.

Today, Russ, Lidia, Lyndsey, and Ryan still hope for answers. More than anything, they just want their son and brother back. They encourage anyone with information about Danny’s whereabouts to please step forward. Tips can be made anonymously.

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

Read next… Where is Danny Newville?

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Memorial Walk for Danny Newville

A co-worker of mine asked if I would share the following information about an upcoming Memorial Walk for Danny Newville on Saturday, August 2. Danny was 18 years old when he went missing from New London, Minnesota on August 1, 2002. The Lakes Area Review published an article in this week’s paper about the Memorial Walk, as well as details about Danny’s disappearance. I am reprinting the article with their permission.

Aug. 2 walk in Danny Newville’s memory

Young man went missing in New London 12 years ago

By Dori Moudry, Editor, Lakes Area Review, New London, Minnesota

Danny NewvilleThe family of Daniel “Danny” Newville is having a walk in his memory at 11am Saturday, Aug. 2 in New London. The public is welcome to join in the walk.

Danny was last seen in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, 2002 in the New London area. He has been missing for 12 years.

Next Saturday’s walk in Danny’s memory will start at the New London-Spicer High School parking lot with a prayer by the Rev. Paul McCullough of the Willmar Assemblies of God Church. The walk will proceed to Old Grey Park before returning to the school. A tree will be planted in Danny’s memory at the park.

“We just want to get some awareness out there,” Danny’s father, Russ Newville, said. “There’s a lot of people that miss Danny.”

Eighteen at the time of his disappearance, Danny would have turned 30 on May 7. He was last seen at a party in New London, and witnesses say he left the party on foot. He has not been seen or heard from since.

According to a Jan. 6, 2003 story in the Kandiyohi County Times, in mid-August, 2002, it was discovered Danny had been missing for two weeks.

Having just turned 18 in May of the year he disappeared, Danny’s hours were unpredictable, and he would sometimes stay with friends or relatives for long periods of time.

In mid-August, an attempt to locate bulletin was issued. In September, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department initiated a missing person search for Danny.

Ground searches by law enforcement have been conducted, as well as air searches with a State Patrol helicopter and scent dog searches also have taken place. Det. Kent Baumann with the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Sheriff’s Office has done a number of interviews, including polygraph tests, of people who were at the same party as Danny the night he disappeared, he said.

“We’re still trying to piece together where he is and what happened to him,” Baumann said.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to actively take leads in Danny’s case, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also is involved in the investigation. Danny has been listed on several national missing persons web sites.

Russ Newville believes his son is deceased. He believes Danny was the victim of foul play, and the people who know what happened to him are too afraid to come forward.

“There are people who know what happened to Danny,” he said.

Russ Newville expressed frustration with law enforcement’s handling of Danny’s case. He said he informed police Danny was missing within 10 days of his disappearance, but a missing person search was not conducted until September.

“Twelve years is way too long,” he said. “If this was a sheriff’s kid, a pastor’s kid, they would have this solved by now. I want him found and I want to have a proper burial for him.”

He hopes the walk in Danny’s memory “will bring a big awareness” to Danny’s disappearance.

In 2011, the Minnesota Missing Persons Act became law, making it easier to prompt a search for a missing adult. The act requires law enforcement agencies to accept without delay any report of a missing person, including people 18 or older.

For more information, see Statutes Chapter 299C.51-299C.5655 at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us.

Anyone with information related to Danny Newville’s disappearance is asked to call the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 214-6700, ext. 3366.


Here’s a link to a video that was produced after the walk. Credit: Fry Pan Proudctions


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