Second Homicide in Two Weeks Leaves Hibbing Anxious

Families Start Locking Doors, Looking After Kids Outside

HIBBING, Minn.- The city of Hibbing is on edge after Hibbing Police make three arrests in the suspected murder of 33-year-old Joshua Lavalley of Aurora.

Formal charges are pending against two men, 18 and 20, as well as a 17-year-old female all from Hibbing.

Meanwhile residents, especially those who exercise on the Mesabi Trail, are shaken up.

“We go running and hiking on there all summer, we go snowshoeing down the trails in the wintertime, so we use them a lot.”

For Angela Fisher, a mother of four and 20-year resident of Hibbing, hearing about two separate homicides in her community–one basically in her backyard–is overwhelming.

“Not much happens out here, so we were very surprised.”

Fisher echoes the concerns of other residents, who wished not to be interviewed.

All of them say that now, they fear what’s happening to their once peaceful city.

The first homicide happened on Christmas Day.

29-year-old Jerome Spann was charged in the shooting death of 34-year-old Jeryel McBeth of Hibbing, and wounding another man.

Then, this past Sunday January 6th, a snowmobiler discovered the body of 33-year-old Joshua Lavalley of Aurora on the Mesabi Trail, just East of Kerr.

“Kinda makes you think twice about leaving doors unlocked, think twice about the safety of your kids and yourself.”

There’s also an unsolved murder in Hibbing from 2017, the victim: 60-year-old Brian Nelson.

Nelson was stabbed to death in his home near the bottle shop he owned. A $25,000 reward is being offered for the conviction of the killer, or killers, in that case.

The proximity of Sunday’s crime throws a wrench into the Fishers’ routine.

The family previously only locking doors when asleep.

Now, Fisher says that has to change.

Her four sons are another concern, but even they know that things have changed in their small town.

“I was surprised because we go biking down there all the time in the summer,” said young Julien, Angela’s second youngest son. “And my mom goes running down there a lot by herself and sometimes with other people.”

In fact, she almost did on that very Sunday.

Fisher, an active member of an active family, was planning where to exercise for the day with her friend.

“We were debating, either going snowshoeing down that trail, or go running on some of the backroads behind my house here. We ended up choosing to go for a run.”

An outcome she’s very thankful for.

“It was just kind of, really eerie to have thought, an hour-and-a-half ago, we were debating whether to go down that exact path,” said Fisher.

“I’m glad it wasn’t me that had to make that kind of a 911 call.”

Despite the shock of all of this, Angela doesn’t want her family to change their way of life in Hibbing.

She especially wants her kids, to just be kids.

“We just told the kids don’t make your actions be based off of fear,” she said. “Not to quit using the trails, not to quit doing the things you love just because something terrible happened.”

“I don’t want their lives to be run by fear.”

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