Police assure community that their investigation continues
Eight weeks after late Minnesota Revenue auditor Henry McCabe’s body was found in Rush Lake waters, his family and African community leaders still wait for answers about the circumstances and cause of his death.
McCabe, age 32, is determined to have likely died from drowning in fresh waters, according to an autopsy report by the Ramsey County medical examiner released to his family. New Brighton and Mound Views police chiefs said the case remains an open investigation, and they encourage the public to share any information that they might have regarding McCabe’s death.
He went missing on Labor Day, September 7, and the search for him went on for weeks. Relatives, friends and volunteers combed various areas in Mounds View and Fridley. He was found dead on November 2 by a kayaker on Rush Lake in New Brighton.
At a meeting on November 25, family asked both Mounds View and New Brighton police chiefs how McCabe died. The community wants to understand the manner and cause of death as well as how he got to the lake. The police chiefs said the manner of death could have been homicide or suicide, that they don’t currently have an answer, and they accept the medical examiner’s autopsy report.
“We may not be able to tell you everything,” said Police Chief Jacobson. “We are not trying to hide anything… We still want to know what happened.”
For now, determining McCabe’s manner of death seems to be a difficult task. On October 15, a few weeks before McCabe was found, his wife, family, and the Henry McCabe Search Team, created by volunteers, met with Chief Thomas Kinney of the Mounds View Police Department to address “concerns and unanswered questions.” At the meeting, Kinney assured Kareen, the late McCabe’s wife, and community leaders that the case is still under investigation, and promised to work with the family.
“This case is unique and remains under investigation as to what might have happened to Henry,” Chief Kinney told the MSR in October. “I justice want to stress that anyone with information on Henry…come forward with any information. If they are reluctant to do so for whatever their reasons are, we would work with them.”
On Sunday, November 8, a fundraiser bake sale was held at the Northern Light Church of Christ in Brooklyn Park. According to Seyon Nyanwleh, a member of McCabe’s search party, “all proceeds will go towards the funeral arrangement for Henry.”
As the family and the Liberian community prepare to lay McCabe to rest, questions still linger as to how he really died and why no trace of a crime can be found. His mother, Esater Karmoh, is expected to travel from Monrovia, Liberia to witness her son’s funeral.
“For me the whole issue is emotional, and a little psychological on all of us,” said Isaac Whitherspoon, a friend and workmate at the Minnesota State Revenue Department for three years. “At lunch time, we’d all sit together, Saylee, myself and Henry. Now when people only see the two of us — myself and Saylee — they ask, ‘Where is Henry?’ So, we carry that weight of him with us at work.”
McCabe is remembered as a gentleman with a drive to succeed and move forward in life who often shared his lunch with colleagues. Many believe he didn’t go to Rush Lake on his own accord — that somebody else was responsible for McCabe’s death.
“Somebody kill that that man. Somebody got to pay for it,” said David Kessel, a longtime friend of McCabe. “For somebody to die like that, it is shameful. It is a scare in our community. Somebody got to pay for it… I couldn’t believe [it]. I don’t think I could sleep tonight.”
“We understand the concerns from the community. We understand the sense of loss,” said New Brighton Police Chief Bob Jacobson. “The difficulty it is losing a loved one, losing a member of the community… That is very difficult for any community to understand and come to grips with the death. Certainly, it is more difficult when it is a death as tragic as this one. Someone hasn’t been seen for a period of time, and there are still questions of how Mr. McCabe arrived [where] he was found.”
He added that both New Brighton and Mounds View communities joined Liberians in Minnesota in grieving and seeking the truth for the late McCabe. The police and the medical examiner’s officer will continue pursuing the case for answers.
“We hope that the Liberian communities and all communities inclusive…can understand what happened to McCabe and have confidence that we’re going to investigate this fully,” said Jacobson. “We are all committed in doing a thorough and professional investigation to determine the cause and manner of death and what happened to McCabe. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned to find the answers to what questions that we may have.”
Chief Kinney said all the meetings with the family and Liberian community leaders are helping in building their relationships and understanding how law enforcement works. He added that Mounds View officers will continue to work together with investigators in New Brighton in seeking answers for McCabe’s death.
“For anyone that might have information they have been reluctant to share or talk about to law enforcement, we’re very much open to hearing that, and very much want to hear that to help us get resolution to this,” said Kinney.
The wake keeping and funeral services for Henry McCabe were held on December 18 and 19 at the Brooklyn Methodist Church in Brooklyn Center.
Issa A. Mansaray welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.