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2018 Year in Review: The most-read stories of the year

Here's a look back at some of our most-read stories of 2018.

Posted: Dec. 17, 2018 11:08 AM
Updated: Dec. 27, 2018 2:38 PM

From murders to a fugitive grandmother on the run to heart-breaking stories, 2018 had plenty of storylines in north Iowa and southern Minnesota.

It began in January when a semi trailer slammed into a school in Lyle. Thankfully, the injuries were minor.

In February, there was outrage in north Iowa when a woman avoided jail time in a sex abuse case. At Mayo Clinic, a video went viral after a woman received a lung transplant.

March was a crime-filled month that began with a standoff and a murder in Cresco, while another murder case began in the small Kossuth County town of Lakota. Later in the month, a man was accused of killing two in Rochester.

Oh yeah, we also had a snow storm that dropped 17.5 inches of snow in north Iowa.

April began with another record-setting snow storm before the focus shifted to a southern Minnesota murder investigation involving Lois Riess, a grandmother from Blooming Prairie, who then was on the run and a nationwide search began. Riess was found in South Padre, Texas, and is accused of killing her look-alike in Florida while she was on the run.

More details emerged in May in the Lois Riess case, and there were heartbreaking deaths involving a 12-year-old boy from Nora Springs and a father and son from Worth County who died in a kayaking accident.

June featured some severe storms, and one destroyed some of Rockford’s athletic complexes. A southern Minnesota police officer was arrested for criminal sexual conduct dating back to 1992. Local car dealerships also dealt with rims and tires being stolen in the area.  

Five people were randomly stabbed in a Mason City a bar after a man was allegedly asked to leave before returning and stabbing people on the Fourth of July. One of our most-read stories of the year revolved around a beer spill - a very large beer spill in a semi that housed 43,000 pounds of blueberry beer in southern Minnesota.

There was more heartbreaking news in August when Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student was found murdered. Mayo Clinic was also involved in some controversy over what a person claimed was a “medical kidnapping.” Kossuth County also had its second murder of 2018, this time in Livermore.

A lengthy investigation ensued in September in Rochester after a man was shot and killed at a trailer park. It was later learned that family anger was the motive in the killing and three people were taken into custody. A homeless man was also charged in a high-profile murder case involving a champion golfer from Iowa State.

A body that was found on the outskirts of Mason City turned out to be that of a missing Arkansas police officer in October. A Pure Pleasure employee in southern Minnesota was stabbed after a person allegedly tried to shoplift cologne.

The focus in November lied in Worth County, where around 160 dogs were seized from what authorities called a puppy mill. Mayo Clinic received a $200M gift, and a north Iowa restaurant was told it had to pay back $100K in back pay.

The month of December had some heartbreaking moments before the holidays when one person was killed in a multi-vehicle accident in Garner and another person died in a fatal Floyd County crash. Two school buses were also involved in accidents, one in Wright County and another in Mower County. 

Here is a more detailed look back at 2018.













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