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!

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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

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

* 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


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