Update, Suspect in-custody - Homicide Investigation - St. Louis County

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St. Louis County Sheriff's Office News Release

Incident Date: 12/28/2020

Incident Time: 1:19AM 

Incident location: Fond du Lac Reservation--- Giiniw Rd


Name: Joseph James Fohrenkam 18 years old  

Name: Trae Dillon Shabaiash          25 years old

Name: Littlefawn Fohrenkam         38 years old



Incident Summary:

On December 28, 2020 at approximately 1:19AM, a caller dialed 911 and reported someone was shot.  The address was on the Fond du Lac Reservation within St. Louis County.  

St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies and Fond du Lac Police Officers responded to the scene and located a deceased male (16 years old) outside of the residence.  Initial investigation found the deceased was shot with a firearm. 

The Sheriff's Office Emergency Response Team was called to the scene.  Two adult females were later located inside the residence.  They were subsequently interviewed.  

Additional involved persons were identified, but left the scene prior to law enforcement arrival.  This incident is being investigated as a homicide by the Sheriff's Office and the FDLPD. The MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation.

Anyone with information on this incident or knows the whereabouts of:

* Joseph James Fohrenkam

* Trae Dillon Shabaiash  

* Littlefawn Fohrenkam

is asked to call the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office by dialing 911 (or from outside the area 218-625-3581)

The name of the deceased individual is not being released pending positive identification and notification of family members.


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Authority:  Sgt. Wade Rasch  218-969-2855

Date:         12/28/20                                                 Time: 1450

Additional Information or Update:

An arrest warrant has been signed by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office for Joseph James Fohrenkam. Investigation has uncovered evidence that Fohrenkam is responsible for this death. The warrant is for the charge of Manslaughter in the second degree.  This has been a multi-agency investigation with the Fond du Lac Police Department and the MN BCA.

Fohrenkam’s current whereabouts are unknown; he is believed to be accompanied by his mother, Littlefawn Fohrenkam. He may still be in possession of a 9mm handgun.

Law enforcement has located Trae Shabaiash and he is cooperating with the investigation.

The victim’s name will be released once the Midwest Medical Examiners Office has made an official positive identification by reviewing applicable medical records.  

Please contact 911 or 218-625-3581 if you have information regarding this case.

See attached photos.


Authority:   Sgt. Wade Rasch              Date:  12/29/2020    Time: 1645



Additional Information or Update:

The Sheriff's Office is releasing the victims name in this investigation:

Joseph James Peterson, 16 years old, from Cloquet/Fond du Lac Reservation


The suspect has NOT been located yet.


Authority:   Sgt. Wade Rasch              Date:  12/31/2020    Time: 8:30


Additional Information or Update:

The suspect in this investigation, Joseph Fohrenkam, was taken into custody today at an apartment complex on the White Earth Reservation, in Mahnomen County.

He is under arrest for Manslaughter in the Second Degree.

Littlefawn Fohrenkam was also located and arrested in connection to this investigation.  


Authority: Supervising Deputy Wade Rasch  Date:  1/6/2021    Time: 5:30