Published by Ballantine Books on November 28th 2000
"We want to talk to you about my brother who was murdered twenty-one years ago--can we come in?" The veneer of tranquility in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, began to crack the day Jerry Sherwood and her son showed up at the police station to inquire about her first-born son, Dennis--adopted by Lois and Harold Jurgens and dead before his fourth birthday. The autopsy report ruled peritonitis was the cause, but the startling photos of the boy suggested murder.
How could the Jurgens kill a small child and get away with it? Determined to find answers, detectives Ron Meehan and Greg Kindle tracked down old witnesses and rebuilt the case brick by brick until they exposed the demons that drove an adopted parent to torture and eventually murder a helpless child. Just as compelling, they investigated why so many people watched and did absolutely nothing. A vivid portrait of an all-American town that harbored a killer, A Death in White Bear Lake is also the absorbing story of two detectives who refused to give up until they had the killer cold.
Interesting book that encapsulates a national tragedy, child abuse was pretty well neglected by both the medical profession and law enforcement up until the 1960’s. The attitude was who would do something like that and it’s really none of our business. Once the scope of the abuse of children began to come to light both the medical profession and law enforcement stepped up to face the challenge.
What is so very sad about this book is that it is not about an isolated instance but rather it is just an example of what was going on through out the country. Even in today’s world abuse of children continues, unabated. The year Dennis Jurgen died, White Bear Lake became the All-American city of 1965. The irony of this, is what makes this story so compelling.