White Earth is a reservation populated by the Ojibwe Tribe in northern Minnesota. A portion of those who live there are white and Chad Swedberg was one of those. White Earth is remote and wooded. On the morning of April 13, 2007, here is some of what happened. Chad woke up early, and handled a few phone calls. He was in a hurry to go work in the maple syrup stand in the woods behind his house. There is a multiple stream of conflicting stories of what else was going on. Over the next few weeks we will take a look at each statement and try to establish what happened. Just before 10 am that morning, Chad’s wife, Leslie Fain, would call 911 from a cell phone in front of her dead husband, lying on the ground by the maple stand. The 911 call was not the first call she had made. Leslie had called Ken Swedberg first, as he lived next door. He was also at the maple stand and he was the one who told her to make the call. I will not refer to the maple stand as the murder site as that exact place Chad was shot was never established.
In a few minutes the EMT’s would arrive at the house and Ken Swedberg was waiting there to transport them on an ATV up the muddy trail to the maple stand. Once there, they determined he was dead, but could not say why. It took rolling Chad over and a close inspection before they saw two bullets that entered his back.
Police began to arrive and the muddy ground was trampled over and over. They stood by and watched as Ken Swedberg would transport his brother’s body in a Bobcat front end loader back to the house and into an ambulance. No suspects or clues were found that day. None.
The police were challenged to find out two things: what happened and why?