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Fugitive Dies After Hiding From Police Inside Chest Freezer

Biwabik, MN – A fugitive wanted on an outstanding warrant ended up dying inside a chest freezer while trying to hide from police, according to investigators.

The investigation into the death of 34-year-old Brandon Lee Buschman began at approximately 3:30 p.m. on June 26, when the Gilbert Police Department (GPD) received a report that a dead man had been found inside a chest freezer at a home in Biwabik, the police department said in a press release.

Officers responded to 304 4th Avenue North and located the body inside the freezer in the basement.

The remains were identified as belonging to Buschman.

Investigators noted the freezer was not operating when Buschman’s body was found.

In fact, there had not been any utilities connected to the residence since April of 2022, and the house had been abandoned since February of this year, the GPD said.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office did not find any evidence of injury or trauma to Buschman’s body during autopsy.

Toxicology reports were still pending as of July 7, according to the GPD.

Investigators said the chest freezer was an older model with a locking mechanism on the outside of the appliance.

“When closed, the freezer is not capable of being pushed open from the inside,” the GPD said.

Evidence found at the scene indicated the fugitive “entered the freezer of his own accord,” according to police.

“Investigators located a metal lawn ornament rod that was inserted from inside of the freezer towards the latching mechanism,” the GPD noted. “The rod was jammed between the gasket and manufactured edge, preventing the rod from being able to manipulate the latching mechanism from the inside.”

Police said they interviewed multiple people who knew Buschman and learned that the people who had been living at the home had last seen him fleeing the upstairs area because he thought the police were nearby and he knew he had a warrant out for his arrest.

Investigators were still trying to determine when Buschman was last seen alive.

“The reports from the individuals were very unclear to us as to exactly when it was that Buschman had fled,” Gilbert Police Lieutenant Chelsea Trucano said, according to the New York Post. “We are continuing to work on some additional investigation to narrow if that means it was this year or last year and will provide that information at a later date once it is narrowed to a better timeline.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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