UND Bookstore hosts author Vernon Keel

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News Article

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College of Arts & Sciences


Author Vernon Keel will visit the UND Bookstore at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21 to discuss his novel, The Murdered Family. Keel is a UND alumnus ’63 and sat as Director of the UND Communication Program from 1984 to 1989.

Released last year, The Murdered Family is based on the true story of the murders of Jacob Wolf, a German Russian immigrant, his wife, Beata, five daughters and a hired boy. The family was murdered in 1920 on the Wolf farm near Turtle Lake, ND. Keel explains that his book discussions focus less on the book and more about the mystery of the Wolf murders and what he has learned since the book was released last year.

In the 350-page novel, Keel examines legal and historical records that raise questions about the guilty verdict of a neighbor farmer who was sentenced to life in prison for the murders. Three weeks after the murders and during an intense statewide election campaign, eager investigators got a signed confession from a neighbor man. Moving forward, The Wolf’s neighbor denied his guilt and said that his confession was obtained “under distress, intimidation and fear.”

Doubt still remains about who really committed this horrible crime. Who would murder this prairie farmer and his entire family, except for the youngest daughter? On Wednesday, September 21, Keel will explain the facts behind the fiction of this true murder mystery. For more information on the victims, murders, investigations and appeals, visit TheMurderedFamily.com.

Vern Keel began his career in journalism at his hometown newspaper, just three miles from where the Wolf family was murdered. He attended the University of North Dakota and graduated in 1963 with a degree in Journalism. Keel continued his education by earning his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and taught media law and headed journalism and communication schools at several Midwestern universities, including the University of North Dakota. He and his wife, Bernadette, live in Denver, Colorado.