• A Death in White Bear Lake

  • The True Chronicle of an All-American Town
  • By: Barry Siegel
  • Narrated by: Charles Constant
  • Length: 16 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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A Death in White Bear Lake

By: Barry Siegel
Narrated by: Charles Constant
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Publisher's summary

In 1962, Jerry Sherwood gave up her newborn son, Dennis, for adoption. Twenty years later, she set out to find him - only to discover he had died before his fourth birthday. The immediate cause was peritonitis, but the coroner had never decided the mode of death, writing "deferred" rather than indicate accident, natural causes, or homicide. This he did even though the autopsy photos showed Dennis covered from head to toe in ugly bruises, his clenched fists and twisted facial expression suggesting he had died writhing in pain.

Harold and Lois Jurgens, a middle-class, churchgoing couple in picturesque White Bear Lake, Minnesota, had adopted Dennis and five other foster children. To all appearances, they were a normal Midwestern family, but Jerry suspected that something sinister had happened in the Jurgens household. She demanded to know the truth about her son's death.

Why did authorities dismiss evidence that marked Dennis as an endangered child? Could Lois Jurgens' brother, a local police lieutenant, have interfered in the investigation? And most disturbing of all, why had so many people who'd witnessed Lois' brutal treatment of her children stay silent for so long? Determined to find answers, local detectives and prosecutors rebuilt the case brick by brick, finally exposing the shocking truth behind a nightmare in suburbia.

©1990 Barry Siegel (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about A Death in White Bear Lake

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really, really good book.

I could not stop listening, the author made me feel like I could "see" all of the characters involved. It was a sad and horrific event, but the author did an amazing job at presenting years & years of history.
I live in the area this horror took place, so I enjoyed hearing all of the local information.
If you like true crime and appreciate an author that goes deep into a subject, this book is for you.

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2 people found this helpful

Who is this book really about?

I just couldn’t finish this book. I gave up. The ongoing description of any and everything in white bear lake is just ridiculous. This book should’ve been called “white bear lake and the people who live in it everyone except for Dennis Jurgens.”

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

ME

This is the most boring book I have ever heard. Do not recommend. Asking for my credit back

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

don't do it

Boring..worst 30 minutes of my life. no no no don't do it. save your credits

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • R
  • 02-24-21

Jesus. way too much detail.

I mostly played it at twice speed, still like 50 chapters. why can't I just submit this review?
boring!!!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

real

I picked this book due to a personal and local connection. I was fascinated by the story. I also loved the way the author highlighted the legal and medical changes that changed with this case.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating true crime story

I loved the way it started with an extensive history of the city White Bear Lake and its residents, including the police department and its legal system. And then how things were back in mid-60’s before “battered child syndrome” was known about. And then watching how things changed from 1965, when Dennis was killed and 1988 when his mother was finally convicted of his murder. The thing that ran through my mind during the entire “reading” of this, how was she ever allowed to adopt one child, let alone an additional 4 children after the social system knew what she had done? It’s a great book, well worth reading and is not just a true crime story, it’s also an amazing psychological study.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

COMPELLING, DEVASTATING, and SO SO SAD

Heartbreaking true story of one angelic little boy whose spirit was broken and ultimately snuffed out by the monsters who adopted him. The story is compelling but at times so painful to listen to.

Another abominable aspect of the story is all the adults who stood by throughout the ordeal, who turned away, and did nothing to save this poor little boy. Shame on you.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Humanizing tale of inhuman acts

The depth of characters & backgrounds mixed with the steps and missteps of the adoptive and law enforcement systems bring this heartbreaking story to light. The Author invests in setting setting the reader with an understanding of "The times" That the crime occurred in to both show how such a systematic failure might happen, but also how timeless such an act of evil is.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

sometimes a little too detailed

some of the information provided was hard to listen to, but it was the details that had me hooked
Excellent story, peak at history, beautifully narrated

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