September 8, 2010

04/25/10: Josh Blahna, 26, Kensal, ND

Josh Blahna
Twenty-six-year-old Josh Blahna was last seen on Sunday, April 25, 2010. Blahna disappeared after he blew a tire and pulled off the road just outside his mother's rural home about 10 miles northwest of Kensal, ND.

The search for Joshua Blahna

After Josh Blahna disappearance, posters were hung, a Facebook page was created, and Josh's family posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to his discovery. Officials and volunteers were also out searching for the young man.

On Wednesday, April 28, authorities found Blahna’s car near his mother’s farm and tracks leading to the nearby James River. One of Blahna's shoes was found near the river, and it was identified by his mother. The shoe was also not far from his mother's house. Further search efforts by water and air on Wednesday were hampered by cold temperatures and strong winds. Spring flooding had also created high water and strong currents in the James River, making a river search unsafe. Crews were only able comb the banks of the river on all-terrain vehicles.

The following day, searchers returned to drag the river, yet the seven hour search turned up nothing.

On Monday, May 3, The Red River Search and Rescue dog unit joined Dakota Search and Rescue Dogs in the search for Blahna. The search for Blahna was ongoing until May 10, 2010, when Blahna's body was found in the James River by family members at about 11-a.m.

The case perplexed local sheriff, Mike Tufte, who told WDAY News 6, “This just doesn't happen like this here.” The paper reported, "Tufte says it's been more than 20 years since Foster County has had a drowning. That one was accidental, he's not so sure about this one. If there was foul play, Tufte says family members don't know who would be behind it. They tell him Joshua had no enemies."

The body was found in Foster County about nine miles northwest of Kensal, ND. The location was a mile and a half south of where he is believed to have entered the river. After it was recovered, it was sent to the North Dakota Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy.
On May 12, 2010, the Foster County sheriff announced that the death had been ruled an accident. Preliminary autopsy results showed that Joshua Blahna drowned.

About Joshua Blahna
Joshua's obituary read:

"Joshua James Blahna is the son of James Blahna and Donna (Hoffman) Mack, and was born on June 11, 1983, in Carrington, ND. He was raised and attended school at Kensal, graduating in 2002. Josh attended Moorhead Tech and recently was farming with his father and brother, Jeremiah, in the Kensal and Carrington areas. Josh worked on wind tower construction near Valley City, ND, and in Iowa, and installed fiber optic underground cable near Jamestown, ND. He was a hard worker.
Josh liked hunting, boating, fishing, was a great downhill skier and had awesome boxing abilities - he was like greased lightening! He worked at body building and weight lifting. He especially enjoyed hanging out with his friends and had a special relationship with his brother, Jeremiah and sister, Casey. Josh was very proud of Jeremiah and Casey, they had many good times camping, cowboying and wrestling. Casey made special gifts just for Josh that he loved.
Josh loved to travel and wanted to see the world. One of his favorite stories he told his friends was about teasing crazy cows- he’d laugh because the cows couldn’t catch him. He loved all animals and couldn’t pass by a lamb or newborn calf without petting it and marveling at how soft it was.
He will be remembered most for his wonderful smile, big heart and his defense of those in need of help. He is home now with Jesus, but will always be here in the hearts of those that loved him. He is a special person who leaves us- On the Wings of Eagles!
Josh will be remembered and deeply missed by his parents, James Blahna and Donna (Bob) Mack, both of Kensal; his brother, Jeremiah, Carrington; his sister, Casey Mack, Kensal; grandmother, Irene Blahna, Kensal; grandfather, Marvin Hoffman, Carrington; special friend, Jennifer Schultes, Fargo, ND; step-brothers, Chris (Lisa) Mack, Williston, ND, and Mike (Jess) Mack, Fargo; step-sisters, Cheri (Perry) Brubaker, Arvilla, ND, and Melissa (Eric) Gauthier, Cavalier, ND; Aunts/Uncles, Jackie (Steve) Blahna-Becker, Minot, ND, Betty Blahna, San Francisco, CA, Suzanne (Rod) Mathwich, Prescott, WI, Christie (Ric) Herman, Moorhead, MN, Cynthia (Donnie) Colvin, Sylvania, AL, Loretta (Harry) Kaatz, Denver, CO, Marlys (Gary) Stangeland, Garland, TX, Marlene (Robert) Smith, Carrington, ND; Cousins, Shauna, Rick, Matt, Erin, Logan, Rhys, Justin, Blaine, Eric, Alicia, Hailey, Chris, Angie, Kenny, Sara, Amanda, Nick, and Amy.
He was preceded in going to Jesus, by his grandfather, Bill Blahna; grandmother, Lucy Hoffman; and Uncle Bill Blahna." (Source: Obituary)

A funeral was held for Josh on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Kensal, ND with a burial at Kensal Cemetery.

Quick Facts:
Name/age: Joshua Blahna, 26
Last seen: 4/25/10, Kensal, ND
Recovered: 5/10/10, James River, Kensal, ND
Physical Description: 5'9," 150 lbs., black hair, hazel eyes
College: had attended Moorehead Tech


Elegant Goth said...

Why would a young man who blew a tire in his truck by his mother's place, all of a sudden find his way down to the river and fall in? This is just strange. And if it wasn't accidental, why would a blown tire set someone off enough to make them go in to a river. I feel for the family.

BoyintheMachine said...

How far away from his car did he enter the water from? That would help to determine if hypothermia was a factor, per the time that he would have been walking in the cold. I wonder how cold it was that night. As far as I can see, it was either a hypothermia-related accidental death or it was a suicide.


Why did it take 3 days to find his car when it was near his mother's house?Why did he go to the river when his mother's house was so close..I don't get some of these drownings..something is not right with a lot of them.....BTW great site!!!

D_Train said...

As the article says, he 'pulled off the road just outside his mother's rural home', when making your way to your mothers house was a viable option, why would this man head to the river just baffles me? And how did his shoes come off? I just can't see how it could be hypothermia.. again, many options besides freezing to death.. a warm car, mother's house. Just too weird