Willmar Police Just Solved a Homicide Cold Case from 1974
In a news release post to Facebook, the Willmar Police Department shared they just solved a homicide case from 1974.
"At 8:43 p.m. on 01/27/1974, Willmar Police were called to a home in the 800 block of 6th St SW, on the report of a deceased person, after family members went to the home to check on an elderly relative who was not answering her phone. Upon arrival, officers determined that the homeowner, identified as Mabel (Mae) Agnes Boyer Herman, age 73, was deceased from what appeared to be multiple stab wounds. A lengthy homicide investigation by the Willmar Police Department and MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension followed, spanning several decades, including several officers’ careers, multiple suspects, outside agency information, citizen tips, extensive evidence evaluation, and hundreds of pages of reports. Unfortunately, no clear suspects or information ever emerged that would lead to an arrest at that time. Evidence evaluation at the time was also inconclusive."
That brings us to 2020. In June the Willmar Police Department put together a temporary cold case review team to go over multiple unsolved cases in the Willmar PD's file. During the review of the Mae Herman case, they realized that Algene Vossen was a suspect back in '74, but interviews were inconclusive.
Technology and DNA analysis has greatly improved in the past 46 years, and thanks to careful preservation of evidence, the team was able to test the evidence again, this time finding Vossen's DNA.
On Thursday, July 23, 2020, the Willmar Police Department concluded a 46-year-old cold case investigation with the arrest of a suspect in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the charge of 2nd Degree Murder. This individual is identified as Algene (Gene) Leeland Vossen, age 79 of Sioux Falls.
The Willmar PD shared their thanks and appreciation for everyone who helped solve the case and shared that unfortunately, most of the investigating officers not he case back in its early years have since passed away and won’t see the conclusion.
Well done Willmar PD, and everyone involved. Your vigilance is proof that even 40+-year-old cold cases CAN be solved, and we should never give up hope.