Boone County in Iowa
Story City in Boone County
Arnold L. Sansgaard
Arnold L. Sansgaard
1 mile west of Story City, IA
Jurisdiction: Boone County
Case # 84-03531
July 15, 1984
Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing
On July 22, 1984, Arnold Sansgaard’s nude body was found lying on the living room floor of the rural Story City home where he lived with his aunt in northeast Boone County. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Sansgaard died from two shallow stab wounds to the right side of his chest area and had been dead approximately one week.
Missing from the farm was Sansgaard’s blue 1977 Datsun 210 car.
A Missed Opportunity
On July 16, 1984 — six days before Sansgaard’s body was discovered — a Chisago County, Minnesota sheriff’s deputy made a traffic stop on the same ’77 Datsun about 50 miles north of Minneapolis; the driver, who appeared quite nervous, identified himself as Arnold Sansgaard.
- Courtesy photo Ogden Reporter
- Officials released this sketch of the man found driving Arnold Sansgaard’s car in Chisago County, Minn. A sheriff’s deputy had stopped and questioned the man, who identified himself as Arnold Sansgaard. Sansgaard’s body had not yet been discovered, and the deputy let the man go.
The man had extensive burn scars over his neck, right forearm and upper arm, and told the deputy he’d suffered the burns from a flamethrower while serving in Vietnam. He was a Veterans Administration outpatient, he told the deputy, and was on medication for a nervous condition.
The deputy let the man go, but not before taking careful note of the man’s facial features. Shortly thereafter, the deputy described the man to a sketch artist, who worked up a portrait to be released to the public.
The second suspect sketch released to the media.
The deputy described the man as approximately 37 years old with dark brown, medium length hair, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 170 pounds, and being clean-shaven, possibly wearing glasses. A second sketch was released at a later date.
A False Confession
Three months later, Christopher Paul Nitsick was arrested for stealing Sansgaard’s car. According to a story in the Ames Daily Tribune, Nitsick was arrested in Omaha on a Nebraska warrant for auto theft. Nitsick had waived extradition to Iowa, where he faced second-degree theft charges for stealing Sansgaard’s Datsun.
The Boone County Attorney’s Office spokesman told the press Nitsick would be questioned in Sansgaard’s murder. According to a June 4, 2011 story in the Tribune, Nitsick proved to be a “minor footnote” in Sansgaard’s homicide investigation.
“This man turned himself over to Nebraska authorities claiming to have killed Sansgaard,” current Boone County Sheriff Ron Fehr — a road deputy at the time Sansgaard was killed — told the Tribune. “After he was interviewed, it was determined that he was not telling the truth. He was just looking for attention.”
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Michael Motsinger told the Tribune there were no new leads to report in the cold case.
“Items of evidentiary value were resubmitted to the lab in 2009, and nothing new was developed,” Motsinger said. “There were some partial DNA profiles developed, but were too weak to identify.”
Arnold Sansgaard’s murder remains unsolved. He was buried at Roland Cemetery in Roland, Iowa, in Story County.
- Courtesy photo findagrave.com
If you have any information about Arnold Sansgaard’s unsolved murder, please contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Office at 515-433-0524. Anonymous tips can be emailed to Tips@boonecounty.iowa.gov. To report a crime by cell phone, send text to: 274637 (CRIMES). In the message box, text the word BOONE and then your message.
Information may also be sent to Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.
- Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
- Find a Grave Memorial
- “Mid-Iowa unsolved murders,” The Ames Tribune, June 4, 2011
- “Issue a Sketch of Man Sought for Questioning,” The Ogden Reporter, August 1, 1984
- “Suspect description released,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 28, 1984
- “Search on for man seen driving dead Iowan’s car,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 26, 1984
- “Stabbing victim was murdered,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 24, 1984
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