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New Book Aims to Shed Additional Light on an Unsolved 1933 Murder in Chisago County

Author Brian Johnson will host a book launch of his new book in Rush City on Thursday, March 14


February 12, 2019

Richfield, Minnesota (February 11, 2019) – Twin Cities author Brian Johnson announced today plans for a book launch event of his new book Murder in Chisago County: The Unsolved Johnson Family Mystery, on Thursday, March 14 in Rush City, Minnesota.

The book, published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, delves into the 1933 murder of Alvira Johnson and her seven children in their farmhouse. At 3:30 a.m. on April 11, 1933, neighbors and firefighters arrived at the farmhouse of Albin and Alvira Johnson to find a smoldering heap where a seemingly happy home once stood. Beneath the ruins, investigators found the bodies of Alvira and her seven children, but Albin's remains were nowhere to be seen.

The authorities determined that Alvira and the children were dead before the fire, and fingers immediately pointed to Albin. Hundreds of searchers, including the illustrious Pinkerton Agency, combed the area and even crossed into Canada in pursuit of Johnson, who was indicted in absentia for the murders. But he was never found, dead or alive. What happened to the Johnson family and what part, if any, Albin played in the tragedy remain a mystery.

Murder in Chisago County Book Launch At -A-Glance

What: Murder in Chisago County Book Launch

When: Thursday March 14, from 7pm to 8pm

Who: Author Brian Johnson

Where: Rusheba Township Townhall, 51533 Forest Lake Blvd Rush City MN 55069

Johnson, the grand-nephew of Alvira Lundeen Johnson, says that this story is one that has tugged at the emotions of Chisago County residents and those across the state for nearly nine decades.

"This project was an investigative journey to seek the truth that turned into a journalistic obsession," said Johnson. "Others and I have been haunted for decades by this case's eerie silence and the dark cloud that has hung over my family's legacy."

Johnson said that it is important to launch the book in the area where the events of April 11, 1933 happened.

"This story has been told through the generations and I hope to offer a clearer lens as to what actually happened," the author said.

While previous newspaper articles have merely presented Alvira and her seven children as colorless victims, this book brings the mother and children to life with both words and photos from the author's private collection. In addition, for the first time Betty Kollas, a niece of Alvira Lundeen Johnson, speaks publicly about the tragedy.

Johnson says that he hopes that his research and writing will help the reader get to know Alvira and her seven children: Harold, Clifford, Kenneth, Dorothy, Bernice, Lester, and James Johnson.

"Who knows? Maybe someone will read my book and come forward with information about Albin Johnson's fate," said Johnson. "Maybe the great mystery will someday be solved. That would surely provide some closure for loved ones on both the Johnson and Lundeen sides of the family."

The March 14 launch event will take place at the Rusheba Township Townhall in Rush City, mere miles from where the murders took place.

"It should be a good evening to connect with those who have interest in this story and want to see the truth finally come out," said Johnson.

"Murder In Chisago County: The Unsolved Johnson Family Mystery," will be released March 4, 2019 and is now available for pre-order at , and other online booksellers.

Attention reporters and editors:

Author Brian Johnson is available for interviews. To make coordinating and scheduling easy and hassle free – contact publicist Robb Leer 612.701.0608 or

Save the Date:

In addition to the March 14 event, Johnson will be conducting a metro area book signing in Minneapolis on Wednesday, April 24th.

Murder in Chisago County Metro Book Signing

Who: Author Brian Johnson

When: Wednesday, April 24th, from 6pm to 7pm

Where: Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, 5760 Portland Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55417

About the Author:

Brian Johnson, a Twin Cities journalist, has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter. A longtime staff writer for a Minneapolis-based business publication, Johnson has won a number of awards from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. The Minneapolis native graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1989 with a major in journalism and a minor in Swedish. In his limited spare time, Johnson enjoys music (mostly classical and hits from the 1970s) and spending time with his family. He also likes to read nonfiction books, play with the family's wild-and-crazy Australian Shepherd, and listen to documentaries on Swedish Radio. Johnson is a grand-nephew of Alvira Lundeen Johnson, who died with her seven children on April 11, 1933, in Harris, Minnesota. Johnson lives in Richfield, Minnesota, with his wife, Stephanie, and their four children: Victoria, Julia, Lydia and William.

About the Publisher:

Arcadia Publishing & The History Press creates the largest and most comprehensive publisher of local and regional content in the USA. By empowering local history and culture enthusiasts to write local stories for local audiences, we create exceptional books that are relevant on a local and personal level, enrich lives, and bring readers closer to their community, their neighbors, and their past. .


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