Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Missing in Minnesota: Daryl Budenski & too many others April 7, 2022

Photographed in February in the window of a downtown Northfield, Minnesota, business, a missing persons poster for Daryl Budenski. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo February 2022)

I EXPECTED TO FIND his name and profile on the list of missing persons in Minnesota. But Daryl Budenski is not on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s “Minnesota Missing and Unidentified Persons Clearinghouse” online site. The Northfield man went missing on October 1, 2021. The Northfield Police Department has termed him an “endangered missing person due to possible onset dementia.”

That BCA site is “a tool to assist in the recovery of missing children and adults in the state of Minnesota” and posts information about those reported missing to a law enforcement agency. I expect specific criteria exist for placement on that list.

In Northfield the search continues for the 71-year-old man affectionately known to locals as “Dice.” Budenski was last seen around 3:30 pm September 30, 2021, near Koester Court Apartments in Northfield. His baseball cap and money clip were found in searches, but nothing else, according to media reports.

Missing: Daryl “Dice” Budenski. (Photo credit: Search for Daryl Budenski Facebook page)

For the family and friends of Dice, the unknown has to feel excruciating. That they care deeply about finding him is clear from the posts and comments on the Search for Daryl Budenski Facebook page. They are not giving up. They’ve held rallies and searches. Public and private. They’ve gotten his name, photo and missing person status out there.

I photographed this poster in a Redwood Falls convenience store in 2018. Mato Dow, who disappeared in October 2017, remains missing. (Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018)

To have a loved one missing, even for a short period of time, is beyond difficult. That is the reality for too many families in Minnesota. The BCA Missing Persons list currently profiles 93 missing people. Like Carla, Haley, Kevin, Roger, Laurie, Mark, Jeremy, Mary Jo, Harold, Sheila, Brandon, Leanna… All ages. And from all parts of Minnesota, from our big cities to our most rural areas. Mankato, Motley, Minneapolis. Redwood Falls, Rochester, Roseville. Willmar, Worthington, Winona. And too many places in between to list.

Their ages range from preschooler to adult. And they’ve been missing anywhere from a year to decades. The longest missing are young brothers Daniel, David and Kenneth Klein, who disappeared in Minneapolis on November 10, 1951. Other old cases date back to 1963 and 1967. The most recent missing person profiled is Evan Jensrud, who disappeared from Cambridge in February 2021.

In my immediate area, two individuals are included on the BCA list: JoJo Boswell, who went missing from Owatonna in July 2005, and John Deeny, who went missing from Janesville in March 1973.

I recognize other names as high profile cases.

As each day passes, then week, then month, then year, then decades, answers remain elusive. What happened to these individuals? Why did they disappear? Did someone take them? Where are they? Uncertainty takes an emotional toll. Only answers will ease the pain, the stress and agony for loved ones and friends.

If you have any information about Daryl Budenski or any of the individuals listed on the BCA website (click here), please contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling