Police, family not giving up on answers in the mysterious case of Brenda Kartes

14 July 2023

FARGO It has been 1,827 days since Brenda Kartes left a Centre Inc. facility in south Fargo to go for a walk and never came back. Five years later, her family and police are still searching for answers.

“It’s to the point now where we really need the public to step up and help us with this,” said Fargo Police Department Investigator Tammy Ehresman.

Just over one year after Kartes left the drug treatment facility, her remains were found near Riverside Cemetery in south Fargo, but her cause of death remains unknown.

“Brenda was considered a vulnerable adult. She had a lot of mental health issues, and she had some history with substance abuse issues,” Ehresman said. “I know somebody out there has the answers to the questions that we have. We just need them to come forward with the information, really, specifically (about) July 12 of 2018.”

In the five years of wondering what happened to their daughter, Brenda Kartes’ parents have taken on their own battle with mental health.

“We are back to the day we were told she was missing. … And that’s why me and my husband, we’re suffering, too, from mental health problems,” said Lynn Kartes, Brenda Kartes’ mother. “Depression and panic attacks, PTSD. It went straight onto us when Brenda died.”

Because of the ongoing investigation into Brenda Kartes’ death, the Kartes family said they remain in the dark until answers come in.

“We want the information to be able to be assessed and evaluated for its truthfulness and be able to corroborate with what we might already know, and we can’t do that if we leak information to the public,” Ehresman said.

“There are things that we know that we can’t tell them because this is an active investigation,” she said.

“We are just waiting for that missing puzzle piece and living angel to give us answers,” Lynn Kartes said.

Brenda Kartes’ family remembers her for her big heart and how she was there to help anyone if she could.

“In the middle of wintertime, if someone was freezing and didn’t have a coat, she would give them her coat and in turn would call us and say, ‘Hey, do you have a spare winter coat? I just gave mine away.’ She cared about people, sometimes too much. People like Brenda fall prey to people who take advantage of her disability, and she was an easy target,” Lynn Kartes said.

“She had a family that still loves her dearly, and they really just want closure as to what happened to their daughter. She was bright and vibrant and had a lot of potential, and we don’t have that now,” Ehresman said.

Fargo police are requesting the public’s help, asking people to come forward with any information about Brenda Kartes even if they don’t think it will help.

“If you are questioning if the information you have may be relevant, or it just may not be very important, please let us know what that information is so we can determine that,” Ehresman said. “No amount of information is unworthy of this case. Any little bit of information can really be helpful; sometimes we are looking for that little nugget.”

Anyone who has information on what happened to Brenda Kartes can call the Criminal Investigations Unit at 701-241-1405 or text a tip to 847411.


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