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tribute

RJR Maintenance & Management co-owner Jackie Fakler, front, with support from employees in back, reads a statement to reporters in tribute to her husband, Robert Fakler, Bill and Lois Cobb and Adam Fuehrer on April 5 at the RJR office in Mandan. Fakler, Fuehrer and the Cobbs were found dead on April 1 as the result of homicide.

Now that a murder suspect is in custody, the rumors are not quite as biting as they were last week. Doors may not be locked quite so vigilantly. But for many, an overriding question remains: Why? It, so far, has gone unanswered.

The owner and three employees at RJR Management & Maintenance, 1106 32nd Ave. S.E. in Mandan, were killed early April 1. By April 4, Chad Isaak, a chiropractor, was arrested, then charged on April 5 with the murders of Robert Fakler, 52, Adam Fuehrer, 42, Lois Cobb, 45, and William Cobb, 50.

During those four days, Mandan police would put together a trail of video evidence that followed a 2008 Ford F-150 pickup to Washburn, where Detective Justin Krohmer, who works for the McLean County Sheriff's Office, recognized the pickup from photos that were being circulated in connection with the Mandan homicide investigation as belonging to his chiropractor.

The police effort, enhanced by numerous community members, including a McDonald's employee who stepped forward with a crucial tip, began with a medical call at 7:27 a.m. April 1, according to an affidavit signed by investigative officer Tyler J. Henry, of the Mandan Police Department.

The Mandan Fire Department and Bruce Tessness, of the Mandan Police Department, arrived at RJR's maintenance shop at the same time. CPR was administered to Fakler, who was not conscious and appeared to have been stabbed. Emergency personnel were not able to revive him. An autopsy revealed that Fakler died of multiple lacerations and stab wounds. The body of Fuehrer also was found in the maintenance shop, according to Henry's affidavit, which reported Fuehrer's cause of death was multiple stab and gunshot wounds.

The Cobbs' bodies were discovered in the administrative offices. Both had died from gunshot and stab wounds.

Throughout the week, community members gathered in a room set aside at a nearby bowling alley to mourn the deaths. The grieving process would continue with a touching tribute made by Fakler's wife, Jackie, and employees on April 5. This past Tuesday, a combined memorial service was held in Bismarck because, not only were the four dead co-workers, but friends.

"We ask for respect for this time of grief. We are coping with a lot of loss here," Jackie Fakler said on April 5. "The entire RJR family is mourning the loss."

In Washburn, residents were shaken by the news of Isaak's arrest.

Neighbors and employees of Main Avenue businesses said they were familiar with Isaak, but didn’t know him well. He was described as a model tenant who paid his rent on time. 

A former classmate said Isaak grew up in Pick City and graduated from high school in Riverdale in 1992. He played football in high school for a multi-school team in Underwood, according to a 2015 feature story on Isaak in a supplement to the McLean County Independent.

Navy records obtained by the Associated Press show Isaak enlisted in the service in 1992 and left in 1997 as a hospital corpsman third class, with a Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

Isaak is divorced and has a 22-year-old daughter, according to divorce records filed in court.

The divorce records show Isaak lived in Bismarck in 2000 and worked at the time as a licensed practical nurse for Medcenter One Care Center in Mandan.

Isaak attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa, graduating in 2006. That same year, he became a licensed chiropractor, according to the North Dakota Board of Chiropractic Examiners. His license information does not indicate any discipline.

Isaak opened his first practice in Hazen in 2006 and opened Isaak Chiropractic in 2015 in Washburn, the McLean County Independent reported.

Isaak does not have a criminal record, and the McLean County Sheriff’s Office did not recall any calls to his home or business.

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