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Sioux Falls Man, 79, Charged In 1974 Murder Of Mae Herman In Willmar

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A man who was questioned almost 50 years ago is a suspect for the brutal murder of a woman in Willmar. He is now charged with the 1974 crime.

South Dakota man Algene Vossen, 79, was charged for stabbing and killing Mae Herman in her home.

"The main detective that worked on this case for so many years passed away back in April," said Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt. He wanted to pick up the hard work colleagues before him never got a chance to finish.

He made the call to re-open the cold case in June. Less than a month later, he was able to find DNA evidence they had in storage, leading to Vossen's arrest.

"DNA was unheard of, so just what they were able to get from this and the quick turnaround is nothing short of a miracle," said Chief Felt.

At this point, investigators still don't have a specific motive from Vossen. He told them he did not know Mae Herman and they believe he targeted her at random.

"He was interviewed several times, and a few years afterwards he was re-interviewed and nothing conclusive came about at that time, but when they went through the reports again he really stuck out as a suspect," said Chief Felt.

Jim Anderson and his wife moved into a home on the same block as Herman's home, just a few years after her murder.

"We knew some people next door who chose to move out of their home right away, just for the reason being that they thought it was a random situation," said Anderson.

Anderson says many people in the area pointed fingers at several people after the murder.

"I know it was upsetting because there were a number of people who were accused unfairly," said Anderson.

Felt spent Friday calling anyone connected to this cold case to let them know they finally have closure, including one of Mae Herman's granddaughters.

"It came as a total surprise to her, 46 years later to hear that news," said Chief Felt, "I reached out to one of the previous suspects to let them know he had been cleared of it. He's lived in that shadow for 46 years so that was amazing to bring that news to someone to."

Chief Felt also made not that all the investigators who put the final pieces together to solve this cold case were born after the crime happened.


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