Minnesotan found slain in Armenia
Matt McKinney, Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune , MN
May 20 2004
A Minnesota man who left the Midwest to teach in the exotic locales
of Tibet, India and the emerging nations of the former Soviet Union
was found stabbed to death outside his apartment Monday night in the
capital of Armenia, where he had been working for the past year.
Joshua Haglund, 33, a graduate of Mounds View High School, was planning
to leave Armenia in a few days for a trip through Iran before returning
to Minnesota for the summer, according to his family.
“This is the first day that I have not cried all day,” said his mother,
Maxine Haglund-Blommer of Shoreview. She said she saw her son a month
ago at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as he passed through
town after attending a California job fair.
“He interviewed with five or six countries, then he stopped back here
with his suit. ‘Hi, how are you? My plane’s leaving in five minutes,’
and then he was gone.'”
Josh HaglundCourtesy Haglund FamilyHaglund, an experienced traveler
who has lived for extended periods in Japan, India and Puerto Rico,
told his mother last Friday that one of the interviews had led to a
job offer in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
He told her it would be his last overseas assignment.
“He said, ‘This is my last trip, Mom. I want to live close to you
guys.’ That was his plan,” she said.
Haglund’s death was characterized as a homicide by authorities in
Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. No arrests have been made, according to
an online news account.
A passerby found Haglund lying on the street outside of his apartment,
according to an article posted on the Web site Bakutoday.net, an
online English-language newspaper. A witness told authorities that
Haglund was badly wounded but still alive when she found him and that
he said something to her in English that she could not understand.
An ambulance arrived a few minutes later, but he had died, she said.
Police said it appeared that he had been beaten and stabbed inside
his apartment and that he had gone outside on his own.
A witness told the online newspaper that an open bottle of wine and
three glasses were found inside Haglund’s apartment, a clue that has
made his death only more confusing for friends at home.
“It must be something really serious,” said Sayompol Samod, a friend
from the Twin Cities, “because in the news article, there was a
[mention of] an open bottle of wine and beating to death. And one
article said it was a contract killing; another said it was a personal
motive. We are here so far away in the dark and not knowing what was
going on. The embassy is not telling us anything.”
Haglund earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the
University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in teaching English
as a second language from the University of Toronto. He taught there
for a time before embarking on his latest assignment.
He moved to Yerevan last year to take a job at the state-run
Linguistics University through an exchange program overseen by the
U.S. State Department. Armenia, which gained independence from the
former Soviet Union in 1991, is a nation of 3.3 million people that
lies just east of Turkey.
Haglund-Blommer said she and her son planned to go camping in the
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness this summer, in what was to be
a continuation of a yearslong custom of mother-son camping trips that
took them to Mexico, Canada, New York and elsewhere.
“A lot of times Josh and I would go camping alone,” she said. “That
was the thing we did for the last 15 years. If every mother could have
the same connection that I have with Josh. … And I’m not singling
him out as anything special or anything. It was good.”
Haglund’s far-flung travels were never without an invitation to his
family to join him, his mother said.
“He was really always trying to get the family to come over,” she
said. “He always wanted to include his family in the places he was.”
Haglund, who enjoyed cooking, once treated his family to a Thanksgiving
meal of dishes he had learned to cook in all of the places he had
been. “The meal he put on was just amazing,” said Haglund-Blommer.
“To think he met such a violent death is just a real hard thing to come
to grips with,” she said. “Maybe we’ll never know what happened there.”
He is survived by his parents, a sister and two brothers. A sister
died in infancy. The family will learn today when the State Department
plans to ship his body home, his mother said.
Services will be held at St. Odilia Church in Shoreview at a time
and date to be determined.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress