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Newly-released documentary sparks new interest in 1985 Otter Tail County murder case

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Sarah Ann Rairdon is buried in the Sverdrup Lutheran Church Cemetery north of Underwood, MN. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 3
Sarah Ann Rairdon3 / 3

FARGO — A documentary about a murder that shocked a small Minnesota town has brought renewed interest in the crime that took place more than 30 years ago.

Sarah Ann Rairdon, 13, of Underwood, disappeared in May 1985 while walking home from school.

Her father, John Rairdon, then 38, led the effort to find Sarah. However, he later confessed to killing her.

John Rairdon was accused of sexually abusing his daughter repeatedly and killing her with a pick-like tool when she tried to fight off one of his advances.

The documentary aired the evening of Monday, Dec. 11, on Investigation Discovery as part of a series called "The 1980's: The Deadliest Decade," and is still accessible online and will air again on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

It features interviews from several people with ties to the case, including two of Sarah's friends, Sonja Lien and Jo Musel Parr and our own reporter Kevin Wallevand wh o covered the story 30 years ago.

In a Facebook post, Lien said both women had been searching for ways to keep Sarah's spirit alive and honor her memory.

The documentary was shot in early August in the Underwood area and in Fargo.

Here's a link to a news story done by The Forum in August 2015, 30 years after Sarah Rairdon was murdered.