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Community in shock over mother, son victims in Perham's double homicide

Officials from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are on the scene at a double homicide that happened in rural Perham just off County Road 60 in Gorman Township. (Photo by Kevin Wallevand/Forum News Service)1 / 2
William Hillman2 / 2

PERHAM, Minn. — Two people were found dead in a rural Perham home early Tuesday, April 17, and a suspect has been arrested in connection with the deaths, which investigators believe are homicides, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.

William Lynn Hillman, 21, of Pine River, is being held at the Otter Tail County Jail in Fergus Falls on two charges of second-degree homicide (with intent, but not premeditated), according to the sheriff's office and jail roster.

Sheriff's deputies responded at 5:17 a.m. to a call of an assault at the home, Chief Deputy Barry Fitzgibbons said in a news release. When deputies arrived, they found two people dead, he said.

The sheriff's office declined to identify the victims, saying that their names will be released after a medical examiner positively identifies them.

However, WDAY-TV in Fargo reports that they are Denise Mcfadzen and her son, Dalton Mcfadzen.

Investigators are trying to piece together why Hillman allegedly killed the mother and son.

"We need to gather all the facts and determine what happened, and that does take time and we have some great professionals out here doing that," Fitzgibbons told WDAY.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension mobile crime lab was also at the scene.

Early Tuesday, Hillman walked to a nearby neighbor's home and told a man there that he had committed a crime, WDAY reported.

Neighbor and longtime dairy farmer Forrest Briard was home when deputies came to tell his hired hand, Mark Mcfadzen, that his son and wife had been killed.

Briard described the family as hardworking and honest. "It is unbelievable and you would not think it would happen, but it is close to home," he told Forum News Service.

Katelin Kathleen Dimmen of Frazee, Minn., also confirmed that the two who died were Dalton and Denise Mcfadzen. She was a friend of Dalton Mcfadzen.

"Dalton was a great person — would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. His mom was so nice, too, always offering her home as a place to stay. Dalton loved fishing and cars and his dogs and his friends," Dimmen told Forum News Service. "He was like part of the family. No matter where he went, he always made himself a part of the family."

Dimmen said Dalton Mcfadzen had a girlfriend and a nephew. "All I know is my friend and his mom are gone and left a lot of family behind," she said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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