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Father and Son Found Dead in Richfield

Richfield Police are investigating a suspected murder-suicide after discovering the bodies of a father and son in a Richfield motel room on Thursday.

This story was printed in the Pioneer Press and written by Tad Vezner. The major issue with this story is trying to get enough information from the police who were not very forthcoming with information because of the on-going investigation. In most cases Vezner elected to paraphrase the quotes that he did receive from Richfield Police Chief Dan Scott. The story gives a good account of the chronology of the kidnapping and the suspected murder-suicide. Autopsies are being conducted by the Hennepin County medical examiner and the results will provide further knowledge about the circumstances of both deaths. Throughout the entire story there is only one quote, which was from Scott, but the majority of the information was attributed to police or Scott directly.

The Star Tribune also wrote a story about the incident in Richfield. The story by Jim Adams was very similar in that there weren’t a lot of direct quotes to be used. The Adams story did do something interesting with the lead in that there was only one age reported.

Richfield police aren't sure exactly how a father and his 7-year-old son died Wednesday in a motel along Interstate Hwy. 494, but they believe it was a murder-suicide.

The Vezner story gave both ages of the victims in the lead.

Police found a 47-year-old man and his 7-year-old son dead on the floor of a Richfield hotel room Wednesday, prompting an investigation into an apparent murder-suicide.

The Adams story didn’t even mention the age of the father involved until the fourth graph. The Adams story reported much of the same information as the Vezner version because there was simply not enough information to write several different versions of the story. The names of the victims and their family have not been given because the police were still trying to contact the family when the stories went to print. The Adams story lacked any direct quotes but also used Scott as a major source of attribution.

Much of these stories were very similar because of the scarcity of information that was released to the press at the time of the discovery. In this case both writers had little to go on so therefore the stories turned out very similar. The only major thing that bothered me about either of these stories was that at the end of the Adams version he decided to report about the last homicide to occur in Richfield back in 2002.

Newspaper files show the last homicide in Richfield happened in March 2002, when Anne N. Gunther, 30, was knifed to death by her ex-boyfriend, who was later convicted of the crime.

I thought that this information was totally misplaced in this story because other than occurring in the same city it had nothing to do with the story that he was reporting on. So, on that basis, I felt that the Vezner version was more appropriate in length and the topics covered. Overall though, the stories were so similar that I believe they both served their purpose very well.