Happy Birthday Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson disappeared from Wishek, North Dakota at age 32 in 1993. 

Robert Michael Anderson was born on November 14th, 1961 to Aldine and Mathilda Anderson of Hugo, Minnesota.  He was the second youngest of seven children.  ‘Bob’ would have turned 54 years of age this month.

THE BOY

By all accounts, Bob was a sensitive and care-free soul and his demeanor fluctuated between at least two modes.  His primary and most natural manner was that of a quiet and reflective boy and young man.   He was also the occasional clown and prankster and was known to have a very rich sense of humor.  Bob liked to have a good time and enjoy life. 

A young Robert Anderson
A young Robert Anderson

 

Bob was close to both of his parents as a young boy and he spent a considerable amount of time playing alone on eight acres of rural Minnesota soil near Hugo, Minnesota.  Roaming free throughout the small hobby farm, Bob had access to cattle, horses and several cats which he  dearly loved.  He loved animals and adored his mixed-breed dog, ‘Elmer’. Bob would often give Elmer a ride around the yard on his bicycle.  With all the animals in his life, with his six siblings and two loving parents, Bob probably always felt that, although he enjoyed time to himself, he was never actually, ‘all alone’.

RobertChilde-1-4
Bob gives Elmer a ride around the yard.

And he also found playmates in siblings and neighborhood kids.  

Bob’s younger sister Debbie Villcheck of Minnetonka, Minnesota has fond memories of her older, protective brother. “Once a bunch of us neighborhood kids were planning to have a mud fight at the pit in Hugo”, she explains. “Bob was one of the people picking teams. He picked me first because he could not stand the idea of throwing something at his little sister.”

Vilcheck recalls, “He would spend hour after hour in the sand box. I would join him, that made him happy to talk and teach me what he learned at school or sometimes quietly play with a smile on his face.  Bob enjoyed the simple things in life and looked on the bright side.  He didn’t have to say a word to speak volumes.”

Bob’s older sister, Diane Kangas of Pillager, Minnesota, reiterates the notion that Bob had a quiet and sensitive side to him, while at the same time being very generous.  “He would have really given you the shirt off his back” , Diane explains.  It is a quality that is repeated again and again when speaking to his loved ones.  

Robert holds up a fish next to his father Aldine, his brother Dean and younger sister Debbie.
Robert holds up a fish next to his father Aldine, his brother Dean and younger sister Debbie.

Perhaps these qualities of quiet sensitivity may be partially attributed to his time spent alone around the Anderson homestead.  Time spent alone allows the opportunity to observe and to consider.  This ability to actually see others is not something we all are capable of.  While many of us are free to carry on rather oblivious and ignorant of our surroundings, the quiet and empathic observers of this world modestly sweep up after us, tending to the unseen, the wounded and the neglected.  Bob’s was a nurturer of animals and, to a certain extent, of people.

THE MAN

A nurturer perhaps, but he wasn’t a saint and his quiet nature did not prevent him from having a good time in any way. 

Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson

If Bob Anderson ‘the boy’ liked fishing, then Bob Anderson ‘the man’ enjoyed fishing, working on cars and drinking beer.  Bob had a talent for working with his hands and was a skilled auto body mechanic.  Some might say that Bob was a very good mechanic but a fantastic beer drinker.    

Having a good time while drinking beer seems to be a recurring theme when talking to Bob’s friends and family.  In fact, Bob’s drinking was a sometimes considered to be a problem.

“One of the things that bothered me about his drinking was that his beer can never touched his lips.” says John Anderson, Bob’s older brother.  “He would crack open a beer, put his head back as far as he could and hold his beer about two inches above his mouth and just dump the whole thing.  He was drinking a case a beer in a day and I told him he needed to get a handle on his drinking.”BobFishing-1

They say I’m crazy but I have a good time,
I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime,
Life’s been good to me so far.

Lyrics Joe Walsh/The Eagles – A song that Bob liked.


Bob met Pam Larson in the late eighties and they were married in September of 1987.  The couple had two children together, a daughter born 1988 and a son, Chase, born 1990.   They divorced in 1992, the year before Bob went missing from Wishek, North Dakota with Kristin Diede.

Pam Larson remembers Bob’s great talent working with automobiles and she also recalls the beer drinking, noting that as their relationship was on its last legs, he could easily drink a half or whole case of beer a night.

During his, post divorce era, Bob lived for awhile with his nephew Travis Nelson.  

Bob with his father Aldine
Bob with his father Aldine

“We loved to party”, says Nelson.  “We were young and we would party and go fishing and have a good time.  We worked on cars and we drank quite a bit.  That was Bob’s life for awhile.  Just having a good time.”  

Travis Nelson also remembers his uncle as a man always willing to help others.  “I remember one time, I ran into Kristin Diede at the bar.  She was there drinking with some guys and Bob was not with her.  Turns out, Bob was at Kristin’s apartment watching her kids for her while she was out having fun”.

Bob also lived for a time with his older brother John Anderson, adopting the occasional tom cat and inviting it into John’s home.

Says John Anderson, “I lived with him for a short period of time. Everybody loved him. He enjoyed himself. He liked eating, he liked drinking.  Put a fishing pole and a beer in his hands and he was content. He liked outdoors sports, he was a typical northland guy.  He did not take life too seriously. But he was a very skilled auto mechanic and liked working with his hands.  By nature he was quiet but when he was drinking he was a hoot.”

Bob perhaps did not take life seriously enough on some fronts.  While he never got into any real legal trouble, (and is not known to have been violent) he could cut an occasional corner once in awhile.  John recalls that Bob did some moonlighting fixing cars for friends and was known to be a bit reckless with the flammable chemicals he worked with, always a cigarette hanging from his lips.  “I thought I might come home someday to hear that the garage had blown up”.  

And he was a clown at times.  “We used to go the movies together sometimes.  Bob would take a king size bucket of popcorn out of the garbage or something and punch eye-holes in it and put it over his head. Then he would walk around flirting with girls and say ‘I bet you want to know what I look like don’t you?’. I used to get such a kick out of that. This was after a couple beers when he would loosen up.”

bobDaughter-1Yet, behind all his happy-go-lucky shinanigens, was perhaps the ‘real’ Bob, that quiet introvert that had spent time alone on the family homestead, the boy who loved animals. When he was not adopting stray cats in the neighborhood he was content snowmobiling, fishing or just talking to his sister on the phone. His inner world was likely much more dynamic, deep and complex than what his personality ever presented to the outside world, at least in a sober state.  And he did take some things very seriously.  Says John Anderson:

“There was some speculation when Bob went missing that he would have perhaps taken off and moved to Canada or something.  I knew for a fact that he would not do that and I’ll tell you why.  I’d seen the way that Bob loved his children, and I knew for a fact that someone that had that much affection for his kids would never leave them. He had his flaws and faults but he was a loving father and very proud to be a father.”

Although not an excuse, but at the very least an explanation, at some level, Bob probably used alcohol to help find a passageway from his inner world to the galaxy outside where he could flirt with girls and make people laugh.

This happens to be the classic Scandinavian mode of operation and if Bob’s Swedish and Norwegian forefathers passed anything on to him, it was this. The Scandinavians that immigrated into Minnesota came from a world where boasting, bragging or carrying on is frowned upon and where emotions are expected to be processed internally, quietly and modestly.  This is manageable for some, for awhile, but when alcohol is introduced into the algorithm, the wheels fall off and the introvert must step aside and let the soul breathe for awhile.  

Kristin Diede and Wishek, North Dakota

Bob met Kristin Diede sometime in the Spring of 1993.  Exactly how or when is not known but it has been said that they met in a bar in downtown Minneapolis and considering what we know about him, it is not difficult to imagine that Bob met Kristin in a drinking establishment.

Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson. Missing from Wishek North Dakota since Aug 1993

All these attributes that make up Robert Michael Anderson, the careful and caring observer and protector, his sensitive nature, his ability to read a room and make people laugh, they all become almost unbearable to consider (at least for this writer) when put into the context of Bob’s experiences with Kristin Diede and whatever truth took place in Wishek, North Dakota in August of 1993.   

Bob could spot a wounded creature a million light years away and he would be one of the first to intervene and to help.  The fact that Bob Anderson came into Kristin Diede’s life and to her aid is no coincidence.  

Kristin Diede had literally been wounded, both physically and emotionally when Bob first met her that spring.  According to a WCCO TV news broadcast, Kristin was being counseled by the Cornerstone domestic violence program in Bloomington, MN, and her ex-husband had recently been charged and convicted of assaulting her.  

If we place Kristin Diede and Bob Anderson in into the same room, then they are destined to interact. They are in a way made for each other.  They are perhaps doomed together.  Kristin, like a lost and beaten stray cat, needed all the help she could get and Bob was the man to help her.  

It is heartbreaking to consider what was going through Bob’s mind on the weekend of August 14th and 15th of that year. The environment of Wishek, North Dakota, was foreign to him. He stood out, an obvious outsider.  Things were not exactly going smoothly by all accounts. According to the WCCO TV News broadcast, Kristin had called friends in Minnesota stating she was having trouble getting her kids back.  Kristin and Robert even made a stop at the local police department to speak with a State Trooper.    

Bob’s own insightful and intuitive nature certainly presented to him a disturbing premonition of bad things to come.  Perhaps for the first time in his life, Bob was starting to feel like he was suddenly ‘all alone’.  At the very least, he realized that he was somewhere he should not be.  

THE TRUTH

After many years of trying to find answers to what had happened to their son, Mathilda and Aldine passed away just three days apart in January of 2015.  If the truth can set you free, then  Bob’s parents perhaps never saw another day of complete freedom after August 15th, 1993 when Bob vanished from their embrace forever.  They never received the answers they were looking for and never were granted the truth. Instead, they were destined to live in the captivity of a parent’s nightmare.

If they had given up hope of seeing Bob again in this life, then perhaps, in the end,  Aldine and Mathilda rejoiced in the freedom of being reunited with him in the next.  

EPILOGUE – THE SOUNDTRACK OF A LIFE

When speaking with Bob’s friends and loved ones I was told that he loved lots of different types of music. There did not seem to be any one artist or genre that he was obsessed with.   Bob probably enjoyed music as he enjoyed life, simply and as it came to him.  I’ve take the liberty to choose a couple songs for his birthday.  I am hoping he would have liked them.

Happy Birthday Bob.  I’ve not learned everything about you, but I can tell you that you are missed by many!

Track One –Mayonaise by The Smashing Pumpkins

This live performance of the song Mayonnaise by The Smashing Pumpkins, took place and was recorded the night before Bob and Kristin disappeared, on Saturday August 14th, 1993 in Chicago,

As I view the Smashing Pumpkin fans in the crowd in this video, as they sing and scream along, so full of joy and so inebriated on life and music, I can also see Bob at the exact same moment in Wishek, North Dakota,  less than 24 hours before he vanished, enjoying to the fullest whatever moment was at hand.

Fool enough to almost be it
Cool enough to not quite see it
Doomed . . .

Mother weep the years I’m missing
All our time can’t be given
Back . . .

This was the record release party for the pumpkins album Siamese Dream which would become a type of Soundtrack for many young people in the 1990’s.

This particular song was performed in the first encore of that show, which would probably place it around eleven pm central time.  A topic for another post perhaps, but it is tempting to consider what Bob and Kristin were doing at exactly the moment when this video was shot.   I am guessing Bob and Kristin were perhaps out at one of Wishek’s watering holes.  (There are reported sightings of them in bars that weekend)  They are possibly feeling good by this hour, anticipating getting out of Wishek the next day.

Track Two – I shall be released by Bob Dylan

Performed by Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers, and Eric Clapton.

bobyounger-1-2

Unacceptable and Unimaginable !

TWO missing people!
TWO news articles!
ONE TV segment!
In 22 years ? ? ?

Please prove us wrong!

It cannot possibly be that two people can go missing and for twenty-two years, the only news media coverage in print, radio or TV are the three that we have found. (see list below).

Please contact us if you know of any print, TV or radio media coverage other than what is listed here (and other than what was printed this year).

  1. Two articles were written in the Wishek Star in 1996.
  2. WCCO TV of Bloomington, MN did one fantastic news story.  (Which was never shown in North Dakota as far we know)

How can this be?

Please prove us wrong and contact us with other media coverage of this case.

Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson. Missing from Wishek North Dakota since Aug 1993
Kristin and Robert went missing in Wishek, ND Aug 15th 1993. The Dodge Van they were travelling in was found abandoned just days later in Aberdeen South Dakota

 

 

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.

push Play > to view video

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.

road-1-2

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.

Kristin Diede’s niece murdered in Aberdeen, SD

Although this tragic event is unrelated to the case of missing Robert Michael Anderson and Kristin Joy Diede, several persons have reached out with this information that a niece of Kristin Diede was murdered earlier this year (2015).

We would like to offer our condolences to the family and loved ones of Jessica Goebel, Kristin Diede’s niece.

See Justice for Jessica Goebel on facebook.

More information can be read here and on many other websites by doing a simple Google Search.

The Flame Restaurant – Aberdeen, South Dakota

Did you work at The Flame Restaurant in 1993? Aberdeen South Dakota

Did you or someone you know work at The Flame restaurant in 1993.  You may have important information regarding a the disappearance of Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson.   Please contact us at unsufferus@gmail.com.

We would like to get in touch with persons who worked at The Flame Restaurant in Aberdeen adjacent the Train Depot.

Google Map from above.

Google Street view with Aberdeen Train Depot on right.

Did you work at the Flame Restaurant, Aberdeen in 1993?
Did you work at the Flame Restaurant, Aberdeen in 1993?

More reading – August 15th, 1993 Sudden Death.

More reading –  Wishek native lodged near abandoned van in Aberdeen

More reading – Kristin’s Niece murdered in Aberdeen.

WISHEK NATIVE LODGED NEAR ABANDONED VEHICLE

KristinRobertTemp-1-2

October 27th, 2015

A native of Wishek who was questioned by investigators in the disappearance of Kristin Diede and Robert Anderson, may have lodged near Anderson’s abandoned vehicle.

Kristin Diede and Robert Anderson disappeared from Wishek, ND, in 1993.
A few days later, the van they had been travelling in was found abandoned
100 miles away, in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  See full case description here.

According to Chase Anderson, Robert Anderson’s son, investigators told him in 2008 that a native of Wishek, North Dakota, who was involved in an ongoing conflict with Kristin Diede, spent the evening of August 15th or August 16th, 1993 at the Ward Hotel in Aberdeen.  The hotel is just one block from the rail road station parking lot where Robert Anderson’s 1979 Dodge van was abandoned. Chase Anderson states that investigators believed in 2008 that, although the vehicle was not reported as abandoned until August 20th 1993, the vehicle may have been observed at that location as early as August 16th by rail road employees.

Robert Anderson's Dodge van was found somewhere near the train depot, parked in a parking stall. The Ward Hotel can be seen on the left.
Robert Anderson’s Dodge van was found somewhere near the train depot in a parking stall. The Ward Hotel can be seen on the left.  It is a two minute walk according to google maps.  – Photo James Wolner

The native of Wishek stayed at the Ward Hotel on the night of August 15th or August 16th, Chase Anderson recollects. Kristin Diede and Robert Anderson were last seen alive in Wishek on August 15th, 1993.

Chase Anderson also recalls being told that the individual, who was closely associated with Mrs Diede, had been questioned early on about Diede and Anderson’s disappearance and that when investigators asked why a person would drive 100 miles to stay in Aberdeen at that time, the individual said ‘to drink beer and see some strippers.’

Robert Anderson's Dodge van was found in Aberdeen near the train depot.
Robert Anderson’s Dodge van was found in Aberdeen near the train depot.

When contacted by phone on October 23, 2015,  Mark Sayler, Senior Agent at the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation stated that he is unable to comment on this story because the criminal case is still active and ongoing.  However, other sources close to the investigation corroborated Anderson’s statement, although they could not confirm the name of the hotel.

When reached by phone this week however, three former employees of the Ward Hotel were unable to recall any story about investigators looking into a hotel guest in the 1993 to 1995 era.

More than two decades after investigators first looked into the matter,  a previous owner and manager of the hotel, Sue Tonner, has no recollection of law enforcement inquiring about any lodger.  Mrs Tonner noted however that she had employed several college students to manage the front desk at that time, and it is possible investigators spoke with one of those members of her staff and not with her.

The Lobby of the Ward Hotel, Aberdeen South Dakota
The Lobby of the Ward Hotel as it looks today.  – Photo James Wolner

A hotel employee, Bonnie Weber, who occasionally worked the front desk, has no recollection of any investigators looking into the matter.  Nor had she ever heard such a story from co-workers.

When I reached him by phone, another previous employee of the hotel, David Swain of Aberdeen, offered some insight into the Ward Hotel back in that era, before the building was converted into condominiums.

“I started working there in eighty-two and worked there until ninety-seven.  I worked the front desk at first and then in 1987 I started tending bar.  Then I managed the bar from 1990 to 1997.

I met a lot of characters.  That was quite a hotel to work in.  You got such a variety of people at that place.  It was still a halfway decent hotel.  We had the bankruptcy judge that would stay there.  The bus driver, that was back when the buses would still came through Aberdeen.  We had a variety of people.  We had dancers because they worked down town.  Strippers.

The Ward Hotel in Aberdeen South Dakota
The Ward Hotel in Aberdeen South Dakota

You never knew who would walk in.  We had the famous trial attorney Gerry Spence.  He came into town once, they had moved a trial to Aberdeen and he got someone off on a murder charge.  He rented out the whole fifth floor for his crew.”

“So it wasn’t like they were the worst rooms. They were just small.  The hotel was built in 1927.  There were rooms  you could rent without a bathroom and  you could get those for like ten bucks. There were all sorts of rooms for all sorts of people.  A suite was only 40 bucks.”

I asked David Swain what the guest register and check-in process looked during the time when he worked front desk.

The Front Desk of Ward Hotel Aberdeen.
The Front Desk of Ward Hotel Aberdeen.

“We had an index card system.  When you working the desk, you would write all their information on it and they had like a file turnstile that had the room number on it and you put the card in there so you knew which rooms were occupied.  So I suppose they never kept the cards for too long. The only one I ever kept was – I checked in Bob Allison, he was a center- fielder for the Minnesota Twins in the 1960’s.  So I kept his card as a souvenir.  I should have kept Gerry Spence’s card but I didn’t know who he was really at the time.”

When asked if he remembered if guests were required to show an ID in order to check in, David Swain says: “You know, I think they wrote their name down and that was it.  They could have written down anything.”

Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson were never witnessed in Aberdeen together.  The fact that they were last seen in Wishek, ND, and the fact that law enforcement believe that they were victims of homicide, would possibly indicate that the van was placed in Aberdeen by the person who murdered Kristin and Robert.  If that drive originated in the Wishek area, how did the driver of the van get back to Wishek?  Did a killer have an accomplice or co-conspirator?

Did you work at the Ward hotel in 1993?  Contact us!

Please help investigators solve this case by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter.

No arrests have ever been made in this case.  Kristin Joy Diede (born Valeri Goebel) and Robert Michael Anderson's bodies have never been found. There have never been any confirmed sightings of them.

If you have any information about this case, contact someone:

This website.  unsufferus@gmail.com 

Logan County Sheriff's Department
701-754-2495,

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 1-800-472-2185 or 701-328-5500

More
* Google map of walk from Ward Hotel to Train Depot
* Google map of drive from Wishek to Aberdeen.
* One of the last sightings of Kristin and Robert
* Interview with Robert's son, Chase Anderson.
* The Cold, Frozen voices of Kristin Diede and Robert Anderson
* Check back soon to see the only TV news coverage on this case which was broadcast in 1995


Aberdeen Train Depot
Aberdeen Train Depot – Photo James Wolner

THE VAN – did you see this vehicle?

Robert Andersons dodge van
Robert Anderson and Kristin Diede travelled in this van from Minneapolis to Wishek where they disappeared in 1993. This van was later found abandoned in Aberdeen South Dakota 100 miles from Wishek.

Did you witness these people or this vehicle anywhere between Wishek, North Dakota and Aberdeen South Dakota?

Logan County Sheriff’s Department
701-754-2495,

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 1-800-472-2185 or 701-328-5500
Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson. Missing from Wishek North Dakota since Aug 1993
Kristin and Robert went missing in Wishek, ND Aug 15th 1993. The Dodge Van they were travelling in was found abandoned just days later in Aberdeen South Dakota.

 

 

 

 

Robert’s Son – “I will never stop looking”

Robert Anderson's son, Chase sits outside the Logan County Sheriff's office on Sept 30, 2015
Frustrated and fatigued,  Chase Anderson sits outside the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Napoleon North Dakota after having met with investigators from both Logan County and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

When I speak with Chase Anderson outside of the Logan County Courthouse, it is just days before the expected birth of his daughter. Chase Anderson seems eager and mentally prepared to take on all the responsibilities of fatherhood. Minnesota born, now a resident of Wisconsin, Chase is 25 years old and he has spent a considerable portion of his life running from his own demons. But he seems to be done running now.

Today he willingly travelled from his home in Wisconsin, to an area of North Dakota that certainly does nothing but kick up dusty and dark feelings of anxiousness and sadness for him. Chase is searching for answers to what happened to his father, Robert Anderson who disappeared 22 years ago from Wishek North Dakota.

Robert Anderson holds his son Chase Anderson - 1992
Robert Anderson holds his son Chase

When conversing with Chase Anderson you sometimes get the feeling that you are speaking to a much older man. If not older, then at least a man wiser than his age. The term ‘street smart’ comes to mind here and there is a reason for it. His demons are still definitely lurking but Chase has cut himself a deal.

No more self medication. No more hiding from the hurt and most important to him it seems, no more blaming his upbringing. And in return, Chase seems to have promised himself to be accountable for his own happiness. The excellent return on this investment is obvious when you meet him in person.

Chase was three years old when Robert Anderson and Kristin Diede took that fateful trip to Wishek in August of 1993. Chase’s parents had just divorced and Chase and his sister lived with their mother. Kristin Diede was in the middle of a divorce herself. Exactly how Kristin Diede and Robert Anderson met and precisely what kind of relationship they had is not clear, but what we do know is that, at some point, Kristin and Robert planned a quick trip with her kids to Wishek North Dakota, her hometown.

They packed up Robert’s Dodge van, drove west and ultimately Robert and Kristin were never seen again. And just like that, Chase Anderson became a boy who would never know his father.

Chase Anderson 2015 and his father Robert Anderson in a photo taken around 1990
Chase Anderson 2015 and his father Robert Anderson in a photo taken around 1990. Chase Anderson is dedicated to finding out the truth about what happened to his own father.

Today, Chase refuses to blame anything on the fact that his father has been absent. Determined now to stay accountable, he at first shrugs off my suggestion that his previous struggles with addiction might have been an attempt to fill the void his father left. He is done with any sort of blame-game. But he is also wise enough not to reject the idea entirely.

I think mostly it has been an issue of misguidance. I probably have not had the type of guidance a guy needs in life. I’ve made some bad choices as there was really no one around to tell me these were bad ideas in the first place.”

In whatever way the disappearance of his father may have affected him, one thing is certain, he wants answers.

His first search began in 2008 when he met with BCI investigator Mike Quinn. You might say Chase initiated his own investigation at that point, even picking up the phone to call people he thought might give him answers. Although he felt BCI Agent Mike Quinn was deeply motivated and dedicated to solving this case, other people Chase reached out to were not as helpful. Chase recalls that in 2008:

I called Kristin Diede’s, or Valerie Goebel’s mother in Wishek and talked to her. But she didn’t want to have anything to do with it this at all, she was not helpful in any way”.

Chase’s own 2008 investigation stalled out. Chase’s life got in the way. But he never let go of his desire to get answers. When asked recently if he thought he would ever find out what happened to his father, he speaks up with no hesitation; “I will never stop looking until I find out what happened to him”.

Now, ready to be a parent, Chase is back on top of his game and he is hunting down his demons instead of running from them. He is giving the investigation another shot. And his Aunts and Uncles (Robert Anderson’s siblings) are helping him.

On September 30th , 2015, the Andersons travelled from the Twin Cities to Napoleon, North Dakota where they met with investigators from the Logan County Sheriff department and with a special agent from the North Dakota bureau of investigation. The BCI still considers this to be an open and ongoing investigation.

I find Chase perched on a cement step outside the Logan County Courthouse. He has excused himself from the meeting for just a few minutes. He might just need a hit of nicotine (his last vice) but his frustration is tangible.

It turns out that the realities of dealing with law enforcement working on an open case can be frustrating. Often for good reason, investigators keep a great deal of information confidential. For someone in Chase Anderson’s situation, sitting across the table from a three-ring binder full of confidential details can feel like torture.

It’s just so frustrating” Chase tells me. We can’t look at the case files but we can ask them questions and they are allowed to  answer some but not others. “

Another source of frustration for the Anderson family is discrepancies about some of the details regarding the case.  For example on this day in Logan County, investigators have told the Anderson family that State Trooper Wes Meidinger met Kristin Diede, but that he never met Robert Anderson.  This of course contradicts what Wes Meidinger told me in an interview just five days prior on Sept 25th, 2015.  (see footnote below)

One effort both kristinjoydiede.com and the Anderson family have been making is to put together a time line of Diede and Anderson’s movements in Wishek that weekend.  It has turned out to be a challenge  but Chase Anderson and the rest of the Anderson family are dedicated to keep up the quest for answers.

Chase Anderson was two years of age when his Father Robert disappeared.
Chase Anderson, just days before becoming a parent himself, is determined to find out what happened to the father he never really knew.

* * * I made a follow up phone call to Wes Meidinger on September 30th, 2015 and informed him of the discrepancy between his version of his interaction with Diede and Anderson and the version the Anderson family were given on that day in Napoleon, ND.  Trooper Meidinger reassured me that he met both Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson. His full account may be read here.

 

Divers searched Wishek area dam in 1996

 Wishek Star Front page from June of 1996 - Investigators brought three diving teams to the area to search for Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson.
Wishek Star Front page from June of 1996 – Investigators brought three diving teams to the area to search for Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson.

In one of few news articles published regarding the disappearance of Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson, the Wishek Star reported in June of 1996 that the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation brought divers to the area that month.

According to The Star,  three two-man diving teams searched an area called “The Lehr Dam” on June 4th of that year.  While a photographer for the Star was on scene, investigators declined to comment on the results of the search.

The article does state, however, that the search was specifically regarding to the case of missing persons Kristin Joy Diede and Robert Michael Anderson.