August 15th, 1993 – Sudden Death

Some portions of this scenario are speculative and not factual with the intent of jarring memories.  Example:  Kristin did call friends in MN but we don’t know it was from a payphone.  Where were you on August 15th, 1993?

It is the afternoon of Sunday August 15th, 1993 in Wishek, North Dakota.

Perhaps after church and chores, you look forward to a quiet afternoon on this day of rest. Perhaps you are traveling back from Wahpeton with a wedding-reception hangover, or getting the boat out for a day of fishing.

Or do you watch Golf?   Paul Azinger is going at it head to head with Greg Norman at the final round of the PGA Championships taking place in Ohio. Azinger has never won a major tournament.  You are in for a real golfing treat and you don’t even know it.

You also don’t know that around the time Azinger and Norman face a sudden death playoff, down at the Wishek Police station, Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson have stopped in to speak with State Trooper Wes Meidinger. Kristin has questions about certain court orders and their validity in the state of North Dakota, before her and Bob head out to her husband’s parent’s farm to pick up her two kids and head back to Minnesota. Kristin and her husband are separated but not yet divorced.

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Kristin and Robert leave Trooper Meidinger and head to gas up and say goodbye to Kristin’s brother.

You grab a refreshment during a PGA commercial break and jab your hand into the bowl of corn chips.  You glance out the window and at your front yard.  Is the lawn dying suddenly or is that just your hangover talking? What a night a Bernies!   A Dodge van purrs past your home.  Minnesota plates.  Who could that be?

He is the most innocent bystander ever put on earth.

Robert Anderson takes it all in as he pulls the Dodge into the filling station. He takes Wishek in.  He takes North Dakota in. He has never been to Wishek until this weekend.  He just tagged along with Kristin and her 9 year son and 6 year old daughter.   He is the ‘boyfriend with a van’.  He is that ‘out-of-towner from Minneapolis’.  He is the most innocent bystander ever put on earth.  He’ll never return to Wishek or Minneapolis again, but he doesn’t know it.

Azinger wins his first major tournament and you relish in Greg Norman’s suffering and his missed putt.  You celebrate with a big burp. The American golfer kicked the Aussie’s ass!  All is well in your world.   You flip the channel, the lawn can wait.

Nolan Ryan is on the mound.  The Rangers are taking it to the Indians.  This day, this game, is the last time you or anyone else will ever see Nolan Ryan pitch a victory.  His right arm is headed for its own sudden death and he doesn’t even know it.  You don’t know it.  Nobody knows it.

Nolan Ryan's last victory - Aug 15th, 1993.
Nolan Ryan’s last victory – Aug 15th, 1993.

While Ryan hurls the last of his career towards home plate, Kristin calls friends in Minnesota. She says she having trouble getting her kids back.

Bob watches Kristin at the pay phone while he fills the Dodge van with unleaded.  This is her home town.  He does not know this place and he hardly even knows her.   Its a long drive back to Minneapolis.  Let’s just go get the kids and go home.

While you witness Nolan Ryan’s last victory, Trooper Meidinger finishes up his Sunday afternoon paperwork.  He won’t hear anything about Kristin and Robert for a long time.  He will become one of the last people to have seen Kristin and Robert alive but he does not yet know it.

Sundays are  your favorite day.  Rest and prayer.  It is for you a Sunday like many more to come.  Work tomorrow.  Another day.  Another week.  You scratch your belly button and open a beer.

it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end.

You turn to another channel,  Pope John Paul II is giving his farewell address speech in Denver Colorado after a four day visit to the United States.  While Vice President Al Gore stands near by, the pope denounces the country as a “culture of death” for its abortion and euthanasia.  gore_pope

“The culture of life means respect for nature and protection of God’s work of creation.  In a special way, it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end.”  You watch Al Gore. He doesn’t even flinch!

With a tank full of gas, Kristin and Robert make one last stop in Wishek to say goodbye to her brother before heading out to get the kids.  They are the worst kind of goodbyes but they don’t know it.

While you try to decide between 60 Minutes and Murder She Wrote, Kristin and Robert head north and take one last journey together.

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Some portions of this scenario are speculative and not factual with the intent of jarring memories.  Example:  Kristin did call friends in MN but we don’t know it was from a payphone.  Where were you on August 15th, 1993?

Do you know something about this case?  Tell Someone!

See Also – Rare TV News coverage of this case.

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