Foul play ruled out in U.S. marshal death
A deputy U.S. marshal from Grand Forks was found dead in his government vehicle shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday in a parking lot at Lincoln Park, just east of Belmont Road off Lincoln Drive.
Two witnesses called 911 and directed police to where the body of Deputy Marshal Robert Wood, 46, was in his work SUV, according to Grand Forks Police Chief John Packett, who appeared at news conference Thursday with Paul Ward, U.S. marshal for North Dakota, and Dan Orr, chief deputy marshal for the North Dakota district.
An autopsy is being conducted on Wood's body, but little could be said about Wood's death because of the ongoing investigation, Packett, Ward and Orr said.
No foul play is suspected, Ward told the Herald Wednesday night.
No one else is being investigated in Wood's death, or considered involved in it, Packett said. "There is no need for any public safety concerns."
Results of the autopsy may not be released for four to six weeks, he said.
The witnesses were near Wood's vehicle when it happened and they called 911 and directed police to the SUV, Packett said. Wood had been dead only a short time when police arrived on the scene, Packett said.
Others with knowledge of the incident, including a law enforcement officer, who said they couldn't speak on the record because of the investigation, told the Herald the death apparently involved a gunshot.
Asked about those reports, Packett and Ward said nothing about the possible cause of death was being released yet.
A nearby resident said he saw a lot of police at the scene, covering the driver's side window and part of the windshield "with some kind of cloth," and emergency workers removing Wood's body from the car and putting on an ambulance gurney.
In GF since '94
Wood grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1986 to 1990, when he joined the U.S. Department of Justice's Marshal Service, assigned first to the Washington, D.C., office, Orr said.
Wood was transferred to Grand Forks in 1994. He worked in the areas of transporting federal prisoners, investigating unregistered sex offenders and capturing federal fugitives, Orr said.
"I've known Bob for over 20 years and he's excellent employee and a good friend," Orr said.
Wood lived in Grand Forks with his wife and their three sons, Orr said. "This is a very difficult time for the family."