Chisholm Community Reacts to Arrest, Charge of Suspect in Nancy Daugherty Cold Case

Michael Carbo Jr., 52, was charged with second-degree murder Thursday thanks to DNA analysis.

CHISHOLM, Minn.- The people of Chisholm peeled back one of the city’s darkest days — the murder and rape of 38-year-old Nancy Daugherty in her own home — as a man from their very city is now charged with her murder.

That man is Michael Carbo Jr., 52, a longtime resident of Chisholm, who was charged with second-degree murder Thursday.


Michael Carbo Jr. mugshot

On Wednesday authorities arrested Carbo — who was 18 years old at the time of the crime — at the Lincoln Square Apartments where he lived alone.

“I saw the unmarked Law Enforcement vehicles and the plain clothes sheriffs,” said Jack Lepisto who lived in the apartment building.

Lepisto was shocked when police surrounded his apartment building arresting his neighbor for one of the city’s most notorious crimes.

“He was living right upstairs, I mean, I wouldn’t have known anything. Y’know even the neighbors thought, they were shocked they didn’t know a person like this lives in our building,” he said.

Mike Carbo 1986 11th Grade

1986 photo of Michael Carbo Jr.

According to the criminal complaint, Carbo’s DNA was found on Nancy Daugherty’s fingernails and vaginal swabs taken from her the night of July 16, 1986 when she was sexually assaulted and strangled inside her Chisholm home after midnight.

“It does make you think, makes you wonder, out of the blue someone did this and they lived next door to you and it’s like — [surprised expression],” said Lepisto.

More than 100 DNA samples were collected from potential suspects over the years — with no matches until now.

“A few months ago I decided to pursue genetic genealogy as a way to possibly generate new leads in the case,” said Chisholm Police Chief Vernon Manner in a Wednesday press conference. He sent crime scene DNA evidence to Parabon, a company that analyzes public genealogy databases.

“Through that process Mr. Carbo was identified as a potential suspect in this case,” the Chief said.

Authorities recently set up surveillance of the suspect’s residence and collected DNA found on articles in Carbo’s garbage, which they observed him throwing out last Thursday. They sent those collections in to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Lab.

On Monday the lab sent law enforcement a report, confirming that the DNA found on Carbo’s trash was a match to the crime scene evidence.

Two days later on Wednesday authorities received a DNA sample from Carbo with his consent, which was determined to be consistent with the previous samples. He was arrested that same day.

Chisholm Cold Case

Nancy Daugherty

“In this day and age the DNA thing — you will get caught. It’s just a matter of when,” said Chisholm bar owner Jerry Janezich.

Janezich, who’s co-owned Tom and Jerry’s bar downtown for over 40 years says he never suspected Carbo, the 52-year-old father who’d occasionally come in for a drink or to watch a game, as anything but an average guy. “You never would’ve guessed.”

“He’d come in, not very often. Once in a while we’d run into him. Seemed pretty normal to us,” he said.

He is thankful law enforcement didn’t give up all these years, so the Daugherty family can get justice and closure. “We knew the dad pretty well, we knew Nancy pretty well, they used to come in. So the whole thing is just pretty amazing,” Janezich said.

Even business owners who don’t know the Daughertys directly feel the same. “Thinking about them and wishing the best for them and hoping they find closure after this many years of losing a loved one,” said co-owner of Valentini’s Supper Club, Rob Russo.

Russo can’t believe that for more than 30 years, Carbo was just another Chisholm customer who never stood out.

“Probably came through the restaurant and bar on occasion I’m sure,” he said. “Kinda shocked that it was someone who was still here and living amongst everyone else. As a normal community member.”

Carbo is scheduled back in court on Aug. 6. His bail is set at $1 million.

For the small, close-knit town, this is a stark reminder that not everyone they know is what they seem. “We don’t get to live their lives. Ever. We don’t get to live anybody’s lives,” said Janezich.

“And the people that come through you think you know but maybe you don’t,” he said.

Chisholm Police Chief Vern Manner read a statement on behalf of Daugherty’s daughter, Gina Haggard, Wednesday night at the press briefing where he and other authorities announced an arrest had been made.  It reads in part:

“There are no words to describe the terrible holes that were left in so many lives including my own. So many tears and struggles. She has missed so much and I miss her love and guidance.”

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