Finley woman arrested

Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm


for death of husband

By Lindsie De Frang | Steele County Press Editor

A 60-year-old Finley woman has been charged with Class AA felony murder in connection with the death of her husband on Monday.

Sherry Midstokke is being held in the Cass County Jail in Fargo on a cash bond of $500,000 and was scheduled to make her initial appearance in court on Wednesday as this issue of the newspaper went to press.

According to Steele County Sheriff Wayne Beckman, Sherry Midstokke called 9-1-1 around 7:30 a.m. on February 3 and reported her husband, Lyle Midstokke, 66, was deceased in the couples home on the east side of Finley. Deputies responding to the call found the body of Lyle Midstokke in a bedroom in the residence.

An initial investigation determined the death to be suspicious in nature and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation was brought in to investigate the incident. During the investigation, Sherry Midstokke left the couples residence and traveled to Mayville, where she was with family members, said Beckman.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Jeramie Quam of the BCI, Mrs. Midstokke was interviewed later in the day by himself and Arnie Rummel, also of the BCI, at the Mayville Police Station. During that interview, Mrs. Midstokke “admitted to intentionally killing Lyle Midstokke by means of drugs and asphyxiation.” The affidavit also states “Physical evidence at the crime scene substantiates Sherry Midstokke’s admission, including items used to asphyxiate Lyle Midstokke.”

Beckman said an autopsy conducted Tuesday also confirmed Lyle Midstokke died by means of drugs and asphyxiation.

“It’s very shocking,” he noted. “This is the first alleged murder in Steele County in almost 100 years. It’s shaken the entire community.”

Sherry Midstokke has been working as a traveling certified nursing assistant at Aneta Parkview Health Center and Lyle Midstokke worked for Rayner Farms of rural Finley. He was active in the Finley American Legion and was well-liked within the community. The couple has three adult children and several grandchildren.

Beckman said there was no criminal history with the couple, nor had his department received any calls regarding any domestic disputes involving the Midstokkes.

If convicted of Class AA felony murder, Sherry Midstokke faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

The couples children declined comment about the case and asked that the media and public respect their privacy, and that of their neighbors and friends, as they mourn the loss of their father and deal with the charges being faced by their mother.

The matter remains under investigation by the Steele County Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Traill County Sheriff’s Department.