Barnabas, who grew up in the Highmore area and now lives in Taylor, Michigan, made the claim in February in an email to the prosecutors in the case. “I’ve known Joe since childhood and we bonded in college some 20 years ago as young adults. Joe was more than a well-read, unsettled intellectual,” he wrote. “He was an admitted alcoholic with a brooding depressive streak unparalleled by anyone else I have ever known.” Oddly, Barnabas told me his motivations for coming forward were not to exonerate Ravnsborg, but rather to prove that the attorney general knew he had killed Boever. In the same email, Barnabas wrote that, because he is certain his cousin committed suicide, he likewise believes Ravnsborg “has been lying about it from the start, going so far as to let the public believe he carelessly drove off the road and hit Joe.” A month after he sent the email, Barnabas was interviewed by North Dakota agents in Highmore.

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