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Man found dead in Wadena County Fairgrounds ticket booth

The ticket booth at the Wadena County Fairgrounds is surrounded in caution tape Friday evening. A dead man was found naked inside the booth Thursday night. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

A Wadena County Fair Board member stumbled upon a dead body inside the fair's ticket booth Thursday night in Wadena.

Fair board member Darin Lehmann said he was mowing grass near the grandstands when he passed by the booth and could smell a strong odor at about 6 p.m. Thursday. He decided to investigate as the fair was hosting the first enduro race of the season on Sunday. Lehmann said the door to the booth was locked but when he peeked into the window he discovered a man naked and apparently deceased.

After calling in the report, the Wadena Police Department responded finding the man dead and called in the Wadena County Sheriff's Office death investigator.

The body was sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

"No foul play is suspected at this time," according to a news release from Chief of Police Naomi Plautz.

Plautz said through some investigation into the man, they were able to identify him as someone recently residing in the area, but not a local resident. Based on the information they had about where the deceased male last was, she said it led them to believe this was not foul play. She would not say where he last was.

More information is expected after the family is notified and an autopsy is complete.

The ticket booth is currently surrounded in caution tape and fair board members believe they will continue with events on Sunday, but will be using a different entrance and booth. Lehmann said the booth has not been used since last October. It's unclear how long the man was in the booth, but based on knowledge of the man's whereabouts, it's not likely he was there long.

Some in the community are questioning whether this instance is related with a call for service from Thursday morning, where a woman called a friend, apparently intoxicated, saying that she had killed someone and "put the body out in the county."

Plautz said that there is no connection between the incidents.