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28 years after north Fargo disappearance, case remains open with few answers

Kevin Mahoney, 25, was partying in a north Fargo home with friends when he vanished in 1993, seemingly without a trace. His sister won't give up the quest to learn what happened to him.

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Tiffany. Chris Flynn / The Forum
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FARGO — Michele Elsenpeter and her older brother Kevin Mahoney were barely young adults when he disappeared after a house party in north Fargo.

Today, she’s 51, and her brother would be 53 if he were still here.

Mahoney, of Dilworth, disappeared on Oct. 2, 1993, and is presumed dead after 28 years without answers.

The passing of another anniversary is hard for Elsenpeter to take.

“It’s been so many years without answers. I know somebody out there knows something. I just wish they would speak up,” she said.

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On Friday, Oct. 1, Elsenpeter and her daughter, Tiffany, held signs bearing Mahoney’s picture on the corner of University Drive and 12th Avenue North, not far from the house where he was last seen.

They later did the same on Veterans Memorial Bridge — an effort to keep Mahoney’s memory alive and remind people that he is, indeed, still missing.

“I keep hoping for answers or at least new leads,” Elsenpeter said.

The Fargo Police Department declined The Forum’s request for an interview about the Mahoney case but provided a statement.

“We aren’t able to discuss the specifics of the investigation, as it is still an active investigation,” the statement read, in part.

Detectives continue to follow up on leads and keep in contact with the family, it said.

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Around the time of his disappearance, Mahoney had a friend who owned a home at 1118 11th St. N., Elsenpeter said. The friend had asked Mahoney to help him remodel the place so he could sell it.

Kevin Mahoney
This is a family snapshot of Kevin Mahoney, who has been missing for 15 years. Special to The Forum

They would work during the day, fixing floors, walls and windows, then party at night and other friends would join in.

People who were partying there on the night in question told police Mahoney left around 1 a.m. to walk to his brother's place in south Moorhead.

Elsenpeter said she thinks he never actually left, that something happened there before he vanished and that his remains could be somewhere in the house.

Police didn’t take his disappearance seriously enough in the beginning, she said.

They thought he was off partying somewhere because he was a “longhair,” she said, a reference to the brown hair that fell well below his shoulders.

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Some years back, Fargo police showed Elsenpeter a photo of a concrete repair in the home’s basement floor, she said.

She was told testing had been done to determine whether human remains could be in the concrete, but the test came up negative.

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Michele Elsenpeter holds a sign on the corner of University Drive and 12th Avenue North in Fargo Friday as a reminder that her brother, Kevin Mahoney, is still missing after 28 years. Mahoney, of Dilworth, was 25 years old when he disappeared on Oct. 2, 1993, after a house party in north Fargo. Chris Flynn / The Forum

Elsenpeter is familiar with the house because she also used to attend parties there and said she thinks police focused on the wrong area of the basement. There used to be a brick wall with an open area behind it, she said, but that space was filled in at some point.

Elsenpeter thinks multiple people who were there that night know what happened to Mahoney. After his disappearance, they stopped showing up for parties, which she considers a red flag.

She will meet with a police detective next week, a practice she’s kept up through the years around the anniversary date of when her brother was last seen.

“We want to have a funeral for him, just some closure,” she said.

The Fargo Police Department urges anyone who has information about the disappearance of Kevin Mahoney to come forward by calling its criminal investigations division at 701-241-1405.

They may also submit a tip by sending a text with the keyword FARGOPD to 847411 or they may submit one online to tip411.

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