Family remembers slain 90-year-old farmer as selfless, humble

Investigators are calling the death of a 90-year-old man in San Francisco Township a homicide. Earl Olander was found dead with his hands bound, and his family just wants to know what happened to the man they say had no enemies and would do anything for them. He still worked at his 320-acre farm, bailing hay to sell in Belle Plaine once a week.

More -- 90-year-old man found dead, with hands bound, in San Francisco Township

Police said there were no signs of a break-in at Olander's rural home on the family farm, located not far from the original farmhouse where he was born in 1925. His doors were likely unlocked, but investigators can't narrow down a time frame between when Olander was last seen during the day Thursday, and when he was found dead Saturday night.

His family says he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Wednesday afternoon, they started the saddening task of going through his belongings while remembering the man they say was always there for them. A humble man with a dry sense of humor, he never married, but he treated his extended family like they were his own children.

"He never wanted to put on airs. He didn't have anything to prove to anybody. He just lived his life the way it was. That was Earl. But if you ever needed anything, he was the first one there for you," Tom Lindquist said.

Some family members believe rumors about his having money prompting someone to target Olander -- ironic, considering they say he got along with everyone.

"He lived by the credo, 'If you don't have something good to say about someone, don't say anything at all.' He lived that," Lindquist said.

Ultimately, family members say whoever killed him didn't just take a life, they stole part of the soul of this community.

$1,000 reward

Investigators believe whoever ransacked the house and assaulted him before binding his hands didn't work alone. He had cuts and bruises to his face and chest, but the sheriff couldn't say if that indicated a struggle.

Crime Stoppers of Minnesota has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. You can visit www.crimestoppersmn.org or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) with information, and you can remain anonymous. 

You can also call the Carver County Sheriff's Office:

952-361-1231 (office)

952-361-1224 (Tip Line)
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