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11-hour manhunt in cornfield ends as man sought in domestic violence case surrenders

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol helicopter searches for a suspect this morning in a cornfield near Argusville. Mike Nowatzki / The Forum

ARGUSVILLE, N.D. - A Fargo man wanted in a domestic violence case was apprehended in a cornfield north of here after an 11-hour manhunt Wednesday.

Authorities took Dylan Pederson, 21, into custody shortly before 7 p.m. after he was seen moving by an officer guarding the perimeter, according to Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney.

Officers then made contact with him via a loudspeaker.

He surrendered to police just north of 167th Avenue and 21st Street Southeast, near Interstate 29.

"We're not sure exactly where he was all day. Hopefully, we'll find that out. The last hour, he was pretty much in the same spot," Majerus said.

Pederson was transported to a Fargo hospital for possible injuries and dehydration before he was to be taken to the Cass County Jail in Fargo, said Cass County Sheriff's Capt. Rick Majerus.

Temperatures at the cornfield were in the mid- to upper 80s Wednesday afternoon.

Pederson will likely face terrorizing and eluding law enforcement charges, and additional charges are possible, Laney said Wednesday.

The search for Pederson began after authorities received a report about 7:40 a.m. of a rolling domestic dispute in a vehicle, Majerus said. The female victim told authorities she had driven to the Fargo-Moorhead area from Grand Forks to pick up Pederson.

According to Majerus:

The victim said an argument ensued on the way back to Grand Forks, and a shot was fired in the vehicle by Pederson, who had a handgun. She got out of the vehicle between Harwood and Argusville, where a passing motorist picked her up.

Based on the victim's description, the Highway Patrol located the vehicle on Highway 81 and tried to stop it, but Pederson turned off Highway 81, went over the railroad tracks and across both lanes of traffic on I-29 and through a fence. The car came to a stop in a ditch. Pederson got out and fled into the large cornfield on the west side of I-29 at County Road 34.

Majerus said it was unclear if Pederson was injured. One of the initial dispatch calls stated that he had shot himself in the forearm, but later, Majerus said Pederson did not appear to have been shot. He may have been "a little banged up" from the car crash.

Officers believe the victim and Pederson are boyfriend and girlfriend, Majerus said. Majerus said Pederson is known to authorities, and the victim was taken to the Cass County Jail on an outstanding warrant. Kayley Roxana Marie Tinkler, of Fargo, was charged with property theft in West Fargo Municipal Court in early August. She was sought on a bench warrant issued Aug. 8.

A helicopter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection was on the scene in the morning before leaving about 10:40 a.m. to refuel and was replaced by an airplane, while sheriff's deputies and state troopers continued to surround the cornfield. Shortly after 11 a.m., a North Dakota National Guard helicopter also arrived to provide aerial support, and the customs helicopter returned.

"When the SWAT guys were in there, it is so thick," Laney said of the field. "It's very deceiving how thick it is."

Greg Winterquist farms the 115-acre field with his son Jamie. The Winterquists were combining a field south of the cornfield where the suspect was being sought.

"It's big taxpayer dollars," Greg Winterquist said of the resources authorities invested in the search.

Laney said there is no question the situation was handled correctly.

Domestic violence situations are commonly known to be extremely volatile.

Although Pederson was armed at the time of his surrender, no gunfire was exchanged, Majerus said.

A police dog was used at the scene to search areas around the cornfield, but due to the threat posed, neither the dog nor its handler were sent into the field, said Majerus.

"You don't rush to a confrontation," Laney said.