Community mourns death of H-BC student
Photo courtesy of Valerie Meinerts
Students mourn together Well-dressed students from Hills-Beaver Creek High School and their dates for the evening gathered at the Hugo Goehle Gymnasium to celebrate prom. The evening had a somber feel as news of the death of H-BC senior Jared Lingen continued to weigh on the students and families and in the community. Lingen’s death was discovered Friday morning and students were informed during the day at school. The administration stated in a letter distributed Friday afternoon that the prom was a good venue to “allow students to be together going through the process.” The night started and ended with moving tributes to Lingen. Superintendent Todd Holthaus asked the crowd to share in a moment of silence before the start of the grand march. The last group to go through the grand march was a group of senior boys. When they reached the end of the walkway, they paused and held up Lingen’s Patriot football jersey. Seen in the foreground are (left to right) Jeff Nelson, Jacob Conger and Billy Horsman. The crowd in attendance stood and clapped while many of the young men in tuxedos held back tears. Conger was one of those who wore a tribute on his lapel.

A teenager from Hills was found dead in his car Friday morning, apparently from a self-inflicted injury.

Jared Lingen, son of Rock County Sgt. Greg Lingen, Luverne, and Bonnie Lingen, Hills, was a senior at Hills-Beaver Creek High School and would have graduated May 17.

According to information from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, an individual from Burlington Northern called local authorities around 8:30 Friday morning.

The railroad official noticed the Lingen vehicle on a bridge near the railroad tracks southwest of Beaver Creek.

Sheriff Evan Verbrugge said it had been a trying day for the entire community and for the Sheriff’s Department.

“Its obviously hard for our office because he’s family — law enforcement is family, and the department itself is grieving,” Verbrugge said.

He said he contacted the BCA to complete the investigation, because of the family connection to the case.

“We have to ask those tough questions, so it’s easier to have someone outside of the office take care of that,” Verbrugge said.

“It’s not that we suspect anything, we just would rather have someone outside the office take care of it.”

Lingen played football at H-BC and was involved in FFA and Patriot Millworks at the school.

He worked at ACE Hardware in Luverne and had planned to join the Marines after high school.

It was prom night at H-BC Friday night, and the district emailed a letter to all families Friday afternoon addressing the tragedy.

“The Hills-Beaver Creek School community has been saddened by the sudden death of one of our senior students, Jared Lingen,” Superintendent Todd Holthaus wrote in the letter.

He said the students had been made aware of Lingen’s death, and staff members were directed to help comfort students and work with them in the grief process.

“I ask parents to discuss this event with your children as you see fit,” Holthaus wrote. “It has been decided to continue with the Jr./Sr. Prom as planned. This will allow students to be together going through this process.”

The district will provide counseling services at school on Monday, as needed.

“Thank you for your support and encouragement,” Holthaus wrote. “Students’ lives and ours must go on despite the sorrow we feel.”

Hartquist funeral home, Luverne, is handling arrangements.


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