When Superior Police Capt. Chad La Lor returned to work in 2004 after a tour of duty in Iraq, Chief Floyd Peters gave him a special assignment -- re-examine Superior's unsolved murders.
The books closed on one of those cases last month, when Rodger Allen Gran was sentenced to 15 years in prison after confessing to the 1986 murder of his mother, Lynnea Gran.
With the break police announced today in the 1993 murder of Myrna Jean Clemmons, police still have three others dating back to 1966 that have never been solved.
Michael Fisher was 14-years-old when he loaded his wagon with copies of the Duluth News Tribune around 4 a.m. June 19, 1966. He left his Baxter Avenue home to deliver the papers in the 1700, 1800 and 1900 blocks of Ogden, John and Hughitt avenues.
Only one of those newspapers was delivered. His sister later found his abandoned wagon at the start of his route. Michael Fisher wasn't seen again until shortly before 9 p.m. that night, when two boys walking along then-vacant Hill Avenue north of 28th Street discovered his body in a roadside ditch. After following hundreds of leads that took investigators across the state to find the killer who bludgeoned Fisher, the trail went cold.
Nearly two decades later, police had two more mysteries on their hands when a young mother and her son were killed in an arson fire and a local business man was shot execution-style in his home.
On March 26, 1983, Claude Espeland and his longtime companion, Anita Edstrom, were at their Banks Avenue home when two men stopped by to negotiate the sale of a car owned by Espeland. Once inside, the men told Espeland they wanted his money, not his car. Espeland gave up the money, but the men ordered him to sit on the floor. They shot him eight times.
Edstrom survived being struck in the head with a gun. It left a hole in her skull. Still, she was able to give police a description of the killers, but the men still gave police the slip. When Edstrom died in 1985, police lost their only witness to the murder.
Almost six months after Espeland's murder, on Sept. 23, 1983, a fire at 1708 N. 17th St., took the lives of 19-year-old Mary Daly and her 8-month-old son, Christopher. A witness heard the flames roar to life before being knocked down by a man described as 6-feet-tall with dark, nearly shoulder-length hair, wearing faded jeans and a denim jacket.
Believed to be the arsonist, the killer escaped justice when he fled north in the alley between Ogden and Tower Avenues.