Oak Park Heights, Minn. (WCCO) – Police in Oak Park Heights say they’re working hard to track down the person who killed a beloved vulnerable adult.
Nils Johnson, 39, was found dead in his condominium on Tuesday.
Johnson was known to all his neighbors as a friendly and loving person. Now they fear his friendliness opened him up to the wrong crowd.
Outside his condominium door, still showing the powder from fingerprint dusting, a grieving mother and sister placed a table for a growing memorial of flowers.
Johnson’s neighbors said they adored him for his big heart and trusting soul.
“He was a very trusting person and offered anything to anybody if asked,” his sister, Solveig Colaianni, said. “I never heard him say no.”
Colaianni said her brother overcame his struggles with mental illness and lived independently in his condo for the past 20 years.
He loved his job as a cook at the local McDonald’s restaurant, and neighbors like Jolene Cady loved him.
“This has rocked our community to the core,” Cady said, fighting back tears. “We feel violated that somebody could come in here and do this to somebody who didn’t deserve it.”
Police were called to Johnson’s condo unit on Sunday after his family couldn’t reach him. A man and a woman inside the unit said they hadn’t seen him. Suspicious neighbors also noticed that Johnson’s truck was parked far from his normal slot.
“We couldn’t stress enough that this was out of character for Nils,” Cady said. “He would not just not come home.”
Police say they found no signs of foul play inside the unit but did not perform a thorough search. But when they returned on Tuesday, Johnson was discovered lying dead on the floor. Autopsy results are not being released, pending the investigation.
“No one can understand what happened,” his sister said. “It’s pure evil.”
Johnson was last seen standing outside his condo complex around 6:30 p.m. Friday. What began as a missing person report is now a full-fledged homicide case, however investigators are saying very little and are keeping the investigation close to the vest.
The identities of the two people inside Johnson’s unit are known, but at this point in the case there have been no arrests.
Anyone with information about the case should contact the Oak Park Heights police department.