North Dakota November 18, 2017
The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized This Small North Dakota Town Is Truly Frightening
There are some gruesome stories out there that remain in the memories and the history of a place forever. North Dakota is one of the safest states in the country as far as crime, but that doesn’t mean it has always been a place of peace. Many decades ago, something happened that would become one of North Dakota’s most notorious stories that still is today. What happened on that fateful day will never be forgotten…
In the small town of Turtle Lake, North Dakota, which had a population of just under 400 at the time, a terrible thing happened.
It was April 22 of 1920 when this horrific story unfolded. Just a few miles outside of town, a family farm owned and run by the Wolf family was the scene of one of the most gruesome, horrible mass killings in North Dakota's history.
Jacob Wolf, the father of the family and owner of the farm, had apparently had a recent argument with their neighbor, Henry Layer. Layer was angry that Wolf's dog had bitten one of his cows and went to confront Wolf about it. This argument turned into a full blown fight after Wolf asked Layer to leave his property, Layer refused, and Wolf brought out his gun.
Unfortunately, what happened next cost the lives of the entire Wolf family except for one 9 month old baby. Layer and Wolf fought over the shotgun. During the struggle, Layer somehow managed to accidentally discharge the gun twice and shoot two people in the process - Jacob Wolf's wife and the 13 year old chore boy, who was another neighbor's son. But the bloodshed did not end here.
Layer was able to get his hands on more ammunition, after which he shot and killed Jacob Wolf, then chased down and killed two of Wolf's daughters, ages 8 and 10. After that, Layer found and killed three more daughters in their home - the youngest was only 3 years old and she was also the only one murdered with a hatchet instead of the shotgun. The only survivor in this mass murdering was the Wolf's 9 month old baby, still in her crib.
The entire Wolf family was nearly wiped out in the blink of an eye, and it wasn't discovered until two days later.
Henry Layer had moved five of the bodies into the basement and the other three into the barn, where he covered them in hay. It wasn't until two days later that someone stopped by and discovered this gruesome scene and alerted authorities.
On April 28, 1920, hundreds amassed for the Wolf family funeral, as shown in the image above. The gravesite of the family is marked with a stone with a German line on it that translates to "The Murdered Family." And that is how they will forever be known. Henry Layer made a written confession to the crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. He died just five years later.
Even though this story is long since past, the quiet town of Turtle Lake is still haunted by this story that will never be forgotten.
The story of the Wolf family murders is one of the most well-known murder stories in North Dakota. Had you heard of it before? It is one of a handful of other mysteries and murders here in the state, and you can read about more by