1983 Minnesota Cold Case may Point to Uncaught Serial Killer

The case received a new lead investigator this month.

Wess Haubrich
6 min readMar 14, 2021


She just wanted to sun herself by the Lake. She deserved some “me” time after such a trying week.

Behind her, he moved as silent as a specter. The stranger’s monstrous, pugilist’s hands tightened around her neck like a constrictor preparing to feed. She saw nothing but black and he slowly released pressure…

She just wanted to sun herself by the Lake. The kids were driving her nuts.

September 25, 1983 was supposed to be a reprieve from several days of horrible Minnesota weather for 33-year-old Dale Heimbach Wheeler of Duluth. She just wanted to sun herself by the lake while her husband and children attended church that gorgeous Sunday morning…

As she slowly came to, the monster’s hands again cranked up the pressure — a vice tightening around her neck until Wheeler breathed her last.

She just wanted to sun herself by the Lake. Relaxing; having a bit of a much-deserved break from the stressors of life.

The unsolved murder of Dale Heimbach Wheeler spawned many questions and theories — one of which points to the homicide as a possible entry in a serial murder case — all of which, according to Jessica Labore the new investigator from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, are understandably “still painful” for the city of Duluth.

Where Dale Wheeler was found one day after her murder. Source: Duluth News Tribune

This is an open investigation so police will not be sharing specifics at all (though the new investigator Jessica Labore thinks the case is far from over). Thus, this piece relies primarily on media sources local to Duluth.

I. The Scene

Duluth, Minnesota sits on the shores of Lake Superior within spitting distance of northern Wisconsin. The “north shore” on the Lake is a favorite recreation spot for the locals.

The picturesque wilderness and upper echelon of society are a big part of what made Dale Wheeler’s murder a huge priority for local investigators.



Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.