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Cold Case Revisited: Jeanine Warden’s Mysterious 1977 Death

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By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)As Caroline Lowe prepares to start a new adventure at KSBY in California, she’s spending the next couple of weeks revisiting cold cases she’s profiled over the past several decades as a crime reporter for WCCO.

Lowe keeps a wall of photos of the victims next to her desk so she’ll never forget them. When she clears out her desk for the last time, Lowe said she’ll put the photos in an album to take with her to California.

Many of the victims’ relatives have contacted her in recent days and before she departs, Lowe will be sharing their stories.

It has been 34 years since 17-year-old Jeanine Warden was found near death in a ditch a few blocks from her rural Anoka County home.

She never regained consciousness and died at a hospital six weeks later. Her case is still a mystery.

It was a rainy Friday night in April of 1977 when Warden and a friend got a ride from a stranger when they hitchhiked home from a school banquet in Forest Lake.

The girls split up after they were dropped off. Minutes later, Warden was in a coma, when a guy driving by saw her and called police.

“We definitely would like to know what happened,” said Charmaine Schodde, Warden’s older sister. “It makes me sad. My children will never get to know my sister.”

It’s been two years since WCCO last reported on Warden’s case and interviewed her mom and sister. The pain was still so strong when Schodde spoke on Tuesday about her loss, not knowing what happened to Warden and who was responsible.

“We have lived with it for more than 30 years now. It is like a burden, a scar you have on your soul and it is just there, all the time,” said Schodde.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

Caroline Lowe’s Original Report

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