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Minnesota National Guard
Young Vadnais Heights couples deaths called murder-suicide

Medical examiner's early report has gun in husband's hand


An undated photo from Facebook shows Katherine (Quam) Pohjonen, 19, and her husband, Kalen Pohjonen, 21 The deaths of the pair, whose bodies were found dead Tuesday in their Vadnais Heights condominium, were classified as a murder-suicide Kalen Pohjonen, a Minnesota National Guardsman, was to be deployed to Kuwait in May (Courtesy photo)

The deaths of a Vadnais Heights couple earlier this week have been classified as a murder-suicide, though authorities have not identified a motive

Katherine Marie Pohjonen, 19, was shot with a handgun by Kalen Ryan Pohjonen, 21, before he used the gun to kill himself, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Ramsey County medical examiner

Investigators were called to a condominium at 859 Woodgate Drive about 10 am Tuesday after a colleague of Katherine Pohjonen's reported that she had not shown up for work, according to Randy Gustafson, public information officer for the Ramsey County sheriff's office

Investigators looked in a window at the home and saw the couple dead inside

The handgun was found at the scene, according to the sheriff's office

How long the couple had been dead before their bodies were found was unclear Wednesday Gustafson said there was no clear indication of motive, such as a suicide note

The family of Katherine (Quam) Pohjonen released a statement about the deaths Wednesday to the Hudson (Wis) Star-Observer The family is from Hudson

"Kathy and Kalen were dearly loved by families and friends The family was close and always got together to celebrate holidays and birthdays We are touched and thankful for those who have reached out to us in this trying time Kathy and Kalen will be missed and forever in our hearts and thoughts"

Kalen Pohjonen's family could not be reached for comment Kalen was a member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls, according to National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson After enlisting in August 2007, he became a specialist in the St Paul-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment

Kalen Pohjonen had never been deployed but was due to ship out in May His unit will be stationed in Kuwait and operating in Kuwait and Iraq, Olson said

Katherine Pohjonen would have turned 20 today

Ryan Bynum, who lives two doors down from the couple's home, said he had plans to go out for his birthday Friday night with Kalen Pohjonen but decided to stay in because he was tired Bynum's wife heard Kalen Pohjonen knocking on their door about 3 am Saturday but didn't answer because it was so late That was the last Bynum heard or saw of his neighbor

By Sarah Horner and Tad Vezner
Pioneer Press

Updated: 01/26/2011 11:48:35 PM CST

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