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Body found in building on 2nd Street SW

By Staff | May 2, 2014

Rugby Police began investigating an unattended death at 119 2nd St. SW, at about 8:30 p.m. on April 26. Harland P. Thingelstad, 55, of Rugby, was found dead in the building he purchased in 2010.

Richard and Cindy Schaan, who own Schaan Oil to the east, called police about not having seen the resident since late March. Thingelstad, who went by Brian, had not checked his mailbox in recent days.

Officers made forced entry into the building after failing to contact the resident, according to a press release. The report said the deceased male appeared to have been dead for several weeks.

The deceased was sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy and positive identification. No foul play is indicated as of Thursday.

The investigation was hindered by lack of lighting, lack of city utilities and the condition of the building, according to police. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Rugby Fire Department assisted in the investigation.

A death notice from Anderson Funeral Home said Thingelstad is formerly of Minot and Texas. A web search shows a Harland P. Thingelstad formerly of Temple, Texas.

Cindy Schaan described Thinglestad as an “incredibly giving person,” who dreamed of opening a dollar store.

“He always gave us gifts,” Schaan said. “He didn’t have a lot of money, but was very giving.”

Schaan said Thingelstad gave her family gifts on holidays and other occasions, including their son’s 21st birthday and their daughter’s wedding. If members of the Schaan family were featured in the Tribune, Thingelstad would frame the articles as gifts.

“He had a good heart,” she said. “He was a kind person and meant well.”

City records show that Thingelstad never hooked up to city water or sewer. Schaan said Thingelstad kept warm in the winter with space heaters in a small room.

The building was built in 1936 and served as the original Johnson Clinic. From 1947 through 1953, it served as the Torrison Music Store. Harold Mueller used the small store on the north side of the building for Mueller’s Radio and TV. The rest of the building was used for apartments. Mueller purchased the entire structure from George Heintz in 1964. Mueller sold it to Thingelstad in November 2010.

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