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Cold Case: Is Donald Blom A Serial Killer?

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Donald Blom

Donald Blom (Credit: CBS)

By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

(WCCO) – The last time most of us saw Donald Blom, he was being driven from a Virginia, Minnesota court house in August of 2000. Blom called WCCO-TV crime reporter Caroline Lowe that day, still insisting he was innocent in the 1999 abduction and murder of Katie Poirier.

Prison officials quickly shipped Blom off to a high-security facility in Pennsylvania. But back here in Minnesota, police put together a 40-year timeline of the criminal who is known for changing his looks, changing his name and changing his story.

For the past six years, Blom and Lowe have continued to keep in contact through the mail. He frequently writes, always claiming he was wrongly convicted. Several months ago, while still claiming his innocence to Lowe, Blom hinted to investigators he was about to change his tune. In one letter to police he wrote: “I have made a decision it is time to talk.”

Blom had one condition for cooperating for state investigators. He wanted to be moved to a prison closer to his family. Armed with a prison transfer letter, Fier and three other investigators flew to Pennsylvania this past summer.

Instead of cooperating, Blom continued to ramble about other things and made more demands. After three days, the deal was off. But even without Blom’s cooperation, investigators are still looking for evidence connection Blom with several unsolved murders.

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I-TEAM: Is Donald Blom A Serial Killer?

The last time many saw Donald Blom, he was being driven from a Virginia, Minn. court house in August 2000. Blom called WCCO-TV crime reporter Caroline Lowe that day, still insisting he was innocent in the 1999 abduction and murder of Katie Poirier.

“I am not the person they are looking for,” he told Lowe by phone.

Prison officials quickly shipped Blom off to a high-security facility in Pennsylvania. But back here in Minnesota, police put together a 40-year time line of the criminal who is known for changing his looks, changing his name and changing his story.

For the past six years, Blom and Lowe have continued to keep in contact through the mail. He frequently writes, always claiming he was wrongly convicted. A six-page letter arrived just a few days ago. In it he wrote: “I have never killed anyone.”

Blom has also kept in contact with a Bloomington detective he met during the Poirier investigation.

“He came forward to us,” said Bloomington Police Sgt. Mark Stehlik.

Several months ago, while still claiming his innocence, Blom hinted to investigators he was about to change his tune. In one letter to police he wrote: “I have made a decision it is time to talk.”

“He was expressing a willingness to us to answer questions that we had about homicides that had occurred in our city,” said Stehlik.

“He wanted to clear his own conscience,” said Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Dennis Fier. He told us he has long suspected Blom was a serial killer.

Blom had one condition for cooperating for state investigators. He wanted to be moved to a prison closer to his family. Armed with a prison transfer letter, Fier and three other investigators flew to Pennsylvania this past summer.

“We were hoping to solve some homicide cases, probably dating back to the ’70s,” said Fier, a senior cold case investigator. “His own admission was that he often would leave for entire nights, would be using alcohol and drugs and would not remember, when he came home the next day, where he had been or what he did.”

One case is the murder of Holly Spangler, a 19-year-old architect student from Wisconsin. In 1993, searchers found her decomposed body in the woods of a Bloomington, Minn. park. At the time, Blom was near the top of their list of suspects. He was a registered sex offender living in that area under the name Donald Pince.

“Do I know that he did it? I don’t know that he did it. I think he’s a strong suspect, absolutely,” Stehlik said.

But during their visit, the investigators’ hope for specific details on other murders began to fade.

“We didn’t feel we were going to have to do much interviewing, because Donald Blom was going to tell us what he knew and basically bare his soul to the cases that he had been involved in,” Fier said.

Instead, Blom continued to ramble about other things and made more demands. After three days, the deal was off. But even without Blom’s cooperation, investigators are still looking for evidence.

The murders they’re focusing on include the strangulation of Wilma Johnson. Her body was found near the St. Paul Cathedral in 1983. Blom admits being at the crime scene, but denies killing her.

Blom also told investigators he may have killed a man near the St. Paul high bridge, even though a body has never been found.

“We feel pretty strongly Donald Blom has been involved in a number of them,” said Fier, who has just begun his 36th year at the BCA. The experienced homicide investigator remains convinced the man locked up in a Pennsylvania prison holds the key to several unsolved murders in Minnesota.

When asked if he believed Blom will go to his grave a serial killer, Fier only replied: “I believe he will. I believe he will.”

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