Family seeks answers in fatal northern Minnesota crash
AURORA, Minn. — For Rita Licari, early October is a painful reminder of the tragic and still-unknown circumstances of her son's death.
It was a year ago that her son, 24-year-old Scott "Scotty" Christensen, was found dead in the middle of County Highway 100 near Palo, about 12 miles south of Aurora.
The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office determined that his death appeared to be consistent with a vehicle-pedestrian crash, but the driver has never been located.
"It's hard to move forward when you can't get any answers or closure," Licari, of Biwabik, said recently.
For now, Licari said she is focusing on her son's memory and working to increase a reward fund for information on his death.
The family recently placed a stone in Christensen's honor at the Children's Memorial Park in Virginia. They're also planning a fundraiser at the end of the month to add to the more than $2,000 already raised online.
"We're just hoping, hoping someone will come forward," Licari said.
Christensen was found dead on the 3600 block of Highway 100, just south of the Loon Lake Community Center, on the morning of Oct. 2, 2016. Investigators determined that the suspected fatal collision likely occurred between 1:30 and 4 a.m.
Christensen had been with friends earlier that evening and was dropped off at his father's residence in Palo, about a mile from the crash site, about 1:15 a.m., authorities said. His father, Scott Christensen, said his son announced that he was going for a walk at that time and never returned. His body was discovered by a passing motorist at 4 a.m.
Christensen, a Palo and Biwabik native, was a 2012 graduate of East Range Academy of Technology and Science in Eveleth and earned an advanced welding degree from Mesabi Range College in 2014. His family said he was a "free spirit" who enjoyed long walks, often making the trek from Palo to Aurora.
Investigators have stressed that they believe the crash was an accident and that the motorist may not have even realized that a pedestrian was struck. They have asked for anyone who may have been in the area around that time to come forward.
Meanwhile, Christensen's family is planning a fundraiser from 4-8 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Aurora American Legion. The benefit includes bingo, raffles and a silent auction, with proceeds going to the reward fund.