Kalen and Katherine Pohjonen died in murder-suicide

Kalen and Kathy Pojohnen were discovered dead Tuesday morning.

Kalen and Kathy Pojohnen were discovered dead Tuesday morning.

When 19-year-old Katherine Pohjonen hadn't been to work in a couple of days, a co-worker called police and asked them to check up on her.

Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies drove to the townhouse she shared with her husband, Kalen Pohjonen, a 21-year-old Minnesota National Guard member.

The scene they discovered told a story which has just been confirmed by a medical examiner.


The young couple, who had just married in 2009, both had birthdays coming up. Their Vadnais Heights neighbors even had plans to celebrate with Kalen on Friday. Those plans fell through and they last heard from Pohjonen when he banged on their door at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. They didn't answer him.

According to Ramsey County Sheriff's spokeman Randy Gustafson, the 21-year-old shot his wife with a handgun, then himself. They were discovered on Tuesday morning, though it's unclear when the deaths actually happened.

Kalen Pohjonen's unit, nicknamed the "Red Bulls," was scheduled to deploy in May 2011 to Kuwait to assist in the final phase of the Iraq War. It would have been Pohjonen's first deployment.

Although local media reported about the deployment right around the time neighbors last heard from the Pohjonens, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Olson of the Minnesota National Guard says this wouldn't have been news to the couple.

"They would have known for well over a year, probably over 18 months," he says.

Katherine Pohjonen's family in Hudson released a statement.

"Kathy and Kalen were dearly loved by families and friends. The family was close and always got together to celebrate holidays and birthdays," it says. "Kathy and Kalen will be missed and forever in our hearts and thoughts."