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Police mum on details of Moorhead homicide investigation

By Dave Olson

Forum News Service

MOORHEAD — Police kept mum Thursday on details of an investigation into the apparent homicide of a man who was found dead Wednesday night in a downtown Moorhead home.

Officers were called about 9:25 p.m. to a house on Main Avenue owned by Henry Volochenko.

Officers were sent to the house for a medical assist and found the man’s body.

Police said Thursday it was early in the investigation. Few details were released, other than the fact that the body had been sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul for an autopsy.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in the investigation.

Moorhead Deputy Police Chief Shannon Monroe said late Thursday afternoon no report had yet been received from the medical examiner and the victim’s identity had not been officially confirmed.

City records identify the owner of the home as Volochenko.

A neighbor, who declined to be identified, said Volochenko had lived in the house for many years and was known as a warm, caring person who often would open his doors to people down on their luck.

He said Volochenko, whom he described as possibly being in his 80s, was also known for collecting things, whether he needed them or not, and he said at times the home’s yard could become cluttered.

Volochenko’s neighbor said Thursday morning he noticed nothing suspicious in the neighborhood Wednesday night, other than police sirens, which he said is a common sound in that downtown neighborhood.

"Never a dull moment on Main Avenue," he said.

A man who was riding his bike in the area of the house Thursday morning, whom police took aside to question, said he knew Volochenko as Hank.

The man, who would not give his name, said he and others who stay at a nearby homeless shelter would visit Volochenko and do occasional work for him.

He said some people would take advantage of Volochenko’s generosity and steal items from him, such as tools.

The man said he rode his bike to Volochenko’s house planning to visit with Volochenko about "who won the hockey game last night," referring to the NHL championship finals game between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Leon Francis is a Fargo resident who said he came to know Volochenko through his mother-in-law, who at one time was Volochenko’s home-help aid.

Francis said he and his children would visit Volochenko and help him by doing things like mow his lawn and till his garden.

He said Volochenko became something of a grandfather figure to him.

"He was an awesome guy," Francis said. "Make sure it is conveyed how great a guy he was."

Monroe said police did not have any information to indicate that any suspects were a danger to the public at large, but he said citizens are encouraged to "always exercise caution and safety in their daily lives."

A member of the Volochenko family who lives in Moorhead declined to comment Thursday when contacted by phone.

Forum News Service

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