Vern Erck, longtime Ward County law enforcement officer, dies at 68

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Longtime Minot lawman Vern Erck died Monday of natural causes at age 68, his family confirmed.

Erck served the Ward County Sheriff’s Office for more than three decades. He was elected Ward County Sheriff five consecutive times, serving from 1990 until his retirement in 2010.

During his law enforcement career, Erck was involved in several high-profile cases. He played a pivotal role in the investigation into the 1985 murders of Cora and Charley Abernathey, a case which drew national attention years later.

Ward County Sheriff Bob Roed released a statement that reads, in part:

“He was a hardworking and dedicated Sheriff for all of Ward County…. Our condolences and prayers to out to Julie and the entire Erck family. He will be greatly missed.”

Scott Abernathey, the grandson of Cora and Charley, said the time he put in to the case will not be forgotten.

“No doubt in my mind the murder would not have been solved without Vern Erck and his efforts,” said Scott.

Erck’s visitation is Sunday, July 31, from 4-6 p.m. at Thomas Family Funeral Home.

His funeral is Monday, Aug. 1, at 10:30 a.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Minot.

Related content:

Obituary for Vern Erck

Suspect in Minot Abernathey murders released from prison, other serving life sentence

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