Cold Case: Nancy Daugherty

Nancy Daugherty was raped, beaten and murdered 30 years ago in one of the Northland’s most notorious unsolved murders.

Chisholm, a small community on the Iron Range, and three decades after the crime authorities are still trying to figure out who killed Nancy.

“Nancy was well known in town she was working at a nursing home,” Chisholm Police Chief Vern Manner said.

Her divorce was nearly finalized, she was about to embark on a new life in the Twin Cities studying to become a paramedic. “She was out with a friend, they dropped her off,” Manner said. This friend will be the last person, to see Nancy alive.

The friend came back the next day to find all the shades shut and house locked, which was suspicious, and called the police.” The police head over to Nancy’s home and find a gruesome discovery. “She was found dead strangled in her own home a couple days before she was supposed to move,” Manner said. Officers also found her body covered in grass stains indicating a fight prior to her death.

Jim Daugherty, Nancy’s husband, still lives in the house where the murder took place. Jim was out of the country at the time of the murder and was cleared by police as a suspect.

The Nancy Daugherty case helped pave the way for the handling of homicides in Minnesota using more advanced scientific methods. “It was one of the first cases that Minnesota used DNA.”

“What keeps it alive is to the hopes to always solve it and bring closure to the family,” Manner said. Closure is something Chisholm Mayor Mike Jugovich would also like to see. “Here you know everyone, so I think it’s a little more difficult in a smaller community,” Jugovich said. The Mayor has walked closely with the case for 30 years, as his good friend was Nancy’s son. 

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