‘Dateline’ is NBC’s primetime newsmagazine, bringing viewers an extensive archive of in-depth news stories and investigative journalism on some of the most baffling real-life mysteries in America. This Emmy-Award winning series frequently follows cases that revolve around murders and missing people until they are brought to a close, genuinely producing storytelling at its best. However, it is not always that a case is solved, as made evident by their episode ‘Far From Spider Lake,’ chronicling the murder of Jan Kruse. So, if you’re here to find out all the details of her perplexing death, you’ve come to the right place.
How Did Jan Kruse Die?
Janette Krista Pigman-Kruse, born September 24, 1974, in Worthington, Minnesota, was a woman who was loved by all. Although she had a full-time job at Ridley Block Operations, having graduated with an Associated Degree from Worthington Community College, she always made time for her husband, Christopher, and their two kids, Issac and Bailey. Jan loved to spend quality time with her family and friends, either by watching sports events together, traveling, or indulging in various activities. But unfortunately, all that slipped away when she unexpectedly lost her life on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.
In the early hours of that day, the 40-year-old was fatally shot in her bed at her residence in Brewster, Nobles County, while her husband and teenage daughter were at home as well. It was Chris who woke up to find his wife unbreathing in her own blood. So as soon as he finished checking up on their daughter, he dialed 911. When the police arrived at the scene, they noticed two shotgun shells outside her bedroom door and a broken window downstairs. But there were no footprints either inside or out. Plus, the fact that Jan was shot in the chest and nothing was robbed indicated that she was targeted.
Who Killed Jan Kruse?
Jan Kruse’s case was one that bewildered the authorities for years, and it continues to do so. They couldn’t look at a robbery gone wrong, they couldn’t find the murder weapon, and as there were no prints left at the scene either, they didn’t have much to go on, especially as Jan didn’t seem to have any enemies or someone who could have wanted to harm her in such a way.
Ultimately, though, after years of the investigation being at a standstill, the authorities, which included the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, turned their suspicion on Christopher, Jan’s husband. In March of 2019, Christopher Kruse was charged and arrested on the counts of first and second-degree murder in connection to his wife’s death. The cause of concern against him was apparently always there, but it sparked further when no other suspects could be identified.
On the night of the murder, although Chris told officers that he had lain his wife on the bed after he found her, he only had a couple of light blood stains on his arms and shirt. This pattern was strange as Chris had reported that Jan was “full of blood” on the 911 call, which led the police to confiscate his clothes as evidence. There was also the fact that during Chris’ initial interrogation, he admitted that he owned a shop where he kept some firearms, including a few shotguns.
But as officers didn’t believe him to be the prime suspect at the time, they didn’t even visit his store, let alone search it for the murder weapon. And by the time they got around to it, it was too late. Chris stood trial for Jan’s murder in early 2020, where the prosecutors pointed out some other inconsistencies in his story as well. But alas, as there was no concrete evidence tying him to the case, the 46-year-old was acquitted of all the charges against him. Therefore, who exactly was behind Jan Kruse’s brutal killing remains a mystery to this date, especially since the case has since been officially closed owing to there being no other concrete leads.