It started as something simple. I stumbled across the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Cold Case web page. Curious by nature, I am like most other human beings. There is a part of our genetic make-up or intellect that naturally wanders towards the corner of a room that might hold answers to all those unknowns and mysteries elsewhere in our buildings. We seek answers sometimes without even thinking about it. “Who won the game?”, you might hear someone say. That’s all we want to know sometimes, the end of a story. I sleep better at night when I feel I have seen things through to the end, my human duty. Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘I don’t care who won the game, how did the first quarter go?” (For other than gambling purposes) You have not because we humans know that all stories must have an end, at least in our own hearts.
There are several cold cases listed on the ND website. Why did Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson’s interest me more than any other? I will share some of those reasons and I will keep some for myself – maybe for no other reason than to spark your curiosity. I will say this though, my curiosity has been heightened by one particularly over-riding factor. There seemed to be an almost total lack of information available online, in book stores or in newspapers.
In fact, I have spoken with a former classmate of Kristin’s as well as a a couple other persons from the Wishek community. Sadly, these people were not even aware of that there was a missing persons case out of Wishek, ND. This may not seem odd to those of you who live in larger cities. Wishek, however, has a population of about 1000 individuals. I live in a smaller town in North Dakota myself. One well known attribute of small towns in the Upper Midwest is that everyone knows everyone’s business. How can this case not be a household topic?
The lack of answers of course only gave birth to many more questions. On top of this speck of information, there has been an overriding climate (at least early on) of what I will only call ‘hush-hush’ when trying to find answers. (This climate seems to be changing now since I published the first good photographs of the missing: It is as if the images themselves have brought some new interest into and perhaps woken some dormant thoughts.)
But before I get into that, let me just explain that I started my ‘search’ in all the obvious places. A Google search offered a few things but when scrutinized, it was simply regurgitation of the same information. Yes, there is a type of explanation for this. This case is still an open criminal case and for that reason, the investigators (both current and previous) are not perhaps at liberty to share some of the information.
Facebook did offer something – more questions! I understood quickly that other’s have had the same thoughts as I. On a FaceBook Community named, ‘North Dakota lost and missing’ I found one discussion thread about Kristin and Robert. There, the obvious question was raised by one curious and alert individual. A seemingly frustrated woman named Shelley states there, ‘Not trying to be rude but how are there no pictures of them?’ and ‘Why is so much of this unavailable’?
Exactly: Why are there no pictures?
Note: To be fair and accurate, there is one photograph of Kristin and one of Robert, both of very poor quality on the NamUs homepage (The National Missing and Identified database). However, the thought that those photographs might actually help resolve this case is far-fetched. Of almost useless quality those images might at best help previous friends regain their fading memories of Robert and Kristin.
And I am obviously not alone in that I feel more could and should be done for some of North Dakota’s cold cases. Troy Larson (also known for the great ‘Ghost towns of ND’ books) is looking into another North Dakota cold case. He writes also about his frustrations in getting information about the case of Lora Jean Dugan . I don’t think anyone is of the opinion that the general public should have access to all information about a criminal case, but some information could be released that could actually be of help to finding answers, without jeopardizing a prosecution.
For 22 years Kristin Joy Diede/Valerie Goebel and Robert Michael Anderson have been missing. Two people are vanished from the face of the earth and I find it incredible that during all that time, no organization or authority considered the power of imagery. Shelley is right, why are there no photographs? I finally took it upon myself to travel to the Wishek public library where I found high school yearbooks. It was a place to start at least.
Kristin and Robert were last seen alive in Wishek, North Dakota on August 15th, 1993. A few days later, the vehicle they had been travelling in was found abandoned in Aberdeen South Dakota – about 100 miles away.
North Dakota highway 3
If Kristin and Robert were victims of a homicide as investigators apparently suspect, then the details of how and when their Dodge van made its way to Aberdeen would be of incredible interest. I say ‘made its way’ but we both know that the van did not make its own way. It was driven by a human being. The two most likely scenarios (although certainly not the only explanations) are that Kristin and Robert drove the van to Aberdeen themselves and ran into trouble there OR that the couple met their demise in Wishek and the person or persons responsible ( or an accomplice ) drove the van to Aberdeen with the purpose of ditching it.
In either case, regardless of who drove the van to Aberdeen, would it not be of enormous interest for the authorities to know if there were any witnesses to this vehicle and its passenger or passengers?
And what might sparks someone’s memory? IMAGES! Quality photographs of Kristin and Robert AND a photograph of the van along with the obvious question, “Did you see these people or this van anywhere between Wishek, ND and Aberdeen SD between the dates of August 14th 1993 and August 20th 1993?” Or something similar to that. You get the picture (no pun intended).
Considering that Kristin and Robert have never been found and considering that it is a fact that the Van was in Wishek when they were last seen, an unfortunate and plausible possibility is that vehicle was used to transport two homicide victims to an area where they could be concealed. Thus, the obvious thought comes to mind. Is it not possible, even to this day, that someone, somewhere between Wishek and Aberdeen has a fading memory of a van parked in an odd location or remote area at that time?
Of course it is at least possible
And how might we spark that dormant memory? With a photograph of the Van of course. I will continue to try to get a photograph from the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation, but for now, they just simply do not return phone calls.
The first thing I discovered when trying to get in touch with persons with first hand knowledge of Kristin, Robert and the details of this case was that people have started to pass away. Time is of an essence. Nobody is getting any younger.
How much longer are we to wait? I am consistently attempting to get in touch with The North Dakota Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit. We are not asking for cotton swabs of DNA or photographs of the interior of the van. How about a photograph of the exterior of the van? How about a color, make and model? How about the Bureau provide that and we take it from there. I’d like to saturate every town in the the southern half of North Dakota with a flyer with pictures of Kristin and Robert AND the van and ask everyone to revisit their memory banks – on my own dime if I have to I suppose.
Somebody somewhere knows something or will remember something.
How about we at least try?
To be continued and seen through to the end.