Hometown remembers NDSU student as homicide investigation proceeds

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Sartell High School graduate Tom Bearson will be remembered in his hometown Friday night with a moment of silence at the Sartell football game.

Bearson is the 18-year-old North Dakota State University student whose body was found in Moorhead this week. His death has been ruled a homicide.

The St. Cloud Times reports football team will honor Bearson's memory with "TB" stickers on their helmets. Bearson was a standout athlete at the school.

A fundraiser at the game will raise money for Bearson's family.

"We hope to be able to present the family with some funds that they can use, perhaps for a scholarship," said Brenda Steve, principal at Sartell High School. Steve lives next door to the Bearson family. She told the newspaper that she had spoken to Bearson's parents and they are "doing as well as they can."

"My heart goes out to their entire family. I can't imagine what this is like," Steve said. "I think it's hard to lose a child, and to lose one this way just has to be so painful. I can't imagine."

The city of Moorhead announced Thursday that the Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined that Bearson's death was the result of "homicidal violence," but provided no details about how it may have occurred.

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Bearson disappeared after attending a party near campus Saturday night. His body was recovered and identified Tuesday in an industrial area of Moorhead on the property of an RV sales business, about six miles away from the site of the party.

No suspects have been arrested.

With the determination that his death was a homicide, Moorhead police are asking for the public's help in finding Bearson's cell phone and one of his shoes – items that were missing from the scene where his body was found.

The left shoe is a white Nike Air Jordan size 9 1/2. The phone is a silver i-Phone 5. Police released photos of matching items, which you can see at left.

Police also released details about what Bearson was wearing on the night of his death:

"Thomas Bearson was reported to have been last seen Saturday September 20th at approximately 3:40 a.m. outside the residence of 824 14th Street North in Fargo. He was wearing a blue baseball cap, blue Sartell High School track and field shirt and khaki shorts."

Northland's NewsCenter says investigators searched in three specific areas: In the Fargo neighborhood where Bearson was last seen, an area long the Red River, and the Moorhead site where his body was discovered.

Police ask that anyone who finds the missing items, or has information about Bearson's death, contact authorities at (701) 451-7660.

Bearson graduated from Sartell High School last spring and was a four-time letter winner on the basketball team. When the St. Cloud Times notified the school's athletic director, John Ross, about the homicide finding, his response was "This is going to be tough on the kids," the Times reports.

Bearson's parents released ta statement Thursday, the St. Cloud Times reports, asking media outlets not to contact them until they've had a chance to grieve, and hold a funeral and wake.

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