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Details emerge in central Minnesota cabin murder case

The Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Wright County Sheriff’s Office with a missing person’s case that was reported on July 26 after numerous unanswered phone calls.

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PALISADE, Minn. — A note found by investigators near the body of a 62-year-old gunshot victim Wednesday, July 27, inside an Aitkin County cabin appeared to reveal the man’s suspicions of his sons stealing from him and his plan to turn them into law enforcement.

Ronald Bzdok, 24, of Buffalo, Minnesota, faces a felony second-degree murder charge in the death of his father, Daniel Bzdok, who was the subject of a missing persons case first under investigation Tuesday by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. The Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the investigation.

Ronald Bzdok
Ronald Bzdok.
Contributed / Aitkin County Jail

Daniel Bzdok, also of Buffalo, left for his cabin, a trailer on Fleming Lake in Fleming Township south of Palisade, on July 22 with his son Ronald Bzdok. Daniel Bzdok was last heard from July 23, according to the report. Authorities learned Daniel Bzdok was known to bring his .22-caliber handgun to the cabin and drove a Buick LeSabre.

After numerous unanswered phone calls, Daniel Bzdok’s brother became concerned about Bzdok’s well-being and went to check the cabin Tuesday. He found the main door padlocked and no vehicles around, so he left the cabin.

An Aitkin County sheriff's deputy responded to the location Wednesday to look for Daniel Bzdok. The deputy walked around the outside of the cabin and through a large window, saw a dead man with blood on his chest seated at a dining room table.


The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension along with its crime scene team responded to the residence. Investigators noted most of the windows were obscured and the inside of the trailer was dark.

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The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call, reported at 11:01 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, on the 22000 block of Cottontail Drive.

Authorities executed a search warrant and identified the victim as the missing person Daniel Bzdok using a driver's license photo. They found the victim facing the television with a graham cracker in his hand and a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. A single .22-caliber shell casing was found next to the victim, according to authorities.

The BCA special agents found a note in front of the victim indicating Daniel Bzdok suspected Ronald Bzdok and his other son stole from him and he planned to turn them into law enforcement and obtain a restraining order.

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office reported Ronald Bzdok was arrested July 23 — the same day people last heard from Daniel Bzdok — in Wright County while driving the victim’s vehicle and in possession of a .22-caliber handgun. The arrest was at 7:23 p.m. for driving while intoxicated, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of drugs and driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock device.

Thursday, investigators executed a search warrant on Ronald Bzdok's belongings and found the victim’s Cabela’s credit card and a key ring containing a Buick key, a Ford key, gun safe keys and numerous other keys.

Ronald Bzdok is in the Aitkin County Jail on charges of second-degree murder with intent but not premeditated and a probation violation. The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum of 40 years of imprisonment.

Ronald Bzdok was previously convicted of a gross misdemeanor DWI for refusing to submit to a chemical test in 2020 and felony theft by swindle in February. The theft conviction arose from a report of employee theft at a Holiday gas station in Medina. He fraudulently returned items at the store without purchasing them, amounting to a loss of $2,211.62 to the business, according to the complaint.

Bzdok is set to make an appearance 10:45 a.m. Monday in Aitkin County District Court via Zoom.


This case remains under investigation by the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office along with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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