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Former deputy sheriff, police chief found dead in apparent hunting accident

Jay Nelson was deputy sheriff of Becker County from 1999-2006.

The former deputy sheriff of Becker County was found dead in an apparent hunting accident on Saturday. 

According to the Becker County Sheriff's Office, Jay Clayton Nelson, 53, of Cormorant Township was found dead on a logging trail just after 6 p.m. Saturday, his body found less than a mile from Yellowhead Trail and Little Flat Lake in West Sugar Bush Township, which is located about 20 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes. 

Nelson, who served as the deputy sheriff in Becker County from 1999-2006, died of a gunshot wound, according to the sheriff's release. 

"This incident appears to be a hunting related accident," the release says, while asking the public for help in identifying anyone who could've been hunting in that area on Saturday. The department is also asking for information from anyone who saw vehicles, people, or heard gunshots in the area. 

Anyone who can help is asked to call the Becker County Sheriff's Office immediately at 218-847-2661. 

In a post to its Facebook page, the Becker County Sheriff's Office paid tribute to Nelson. 

"It is with great sadness that the Becker County Sheriff’s Office says good-bye to long-time friend and former co-worker Jay Nelson. Jay started his Law Enforcement career in the mid-80’s working part-time as a deputy sheriff for Becker County Sheriff’s Office and as an officer with the Pelican Rapids Police Department. He then worked for Law Enforcement agencies in North Dakota before coming back to Lake Park in the early 90’s where he was the Chief of Police. He then worked for the Becker County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff where he honorably served the citizens of Becker County from 1999-2006. Jay finished his career, again serving the citizens of Lake Park as their Chief of Police, before his retirement in approximately 2015. Thank you for your years of service and the great memories. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Toots, Jon, and Jake and all of Jay’s family and friends. You will be missed."

Nelson retired in 2015 after another nine years as Chief of Police in Lake Park, Minnesota. 

The case remains under investigation. 

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