'Everybody loved Doug:' Friends honor farmer killed in farm field triple murder, suicide

One friend said the world would be a better place if there were more people like Doug Dulmage.

A picture of Doug Dulmage, and the shattered window on his combine from a gunshot.
Matt Henson / WDAY News
We are part of The Trust Project.

MAZA, N.D. — The gem of a small farming community.

That's how a farmer is being remembered after being the victim of a triple murder Monday, Aug. 29, right in the middle of a harvest.

Up on a rural hillside in southwest Towner County, Pat Traynor and his son, Patrick, stopped to pray as they looked at the farm field of their good friend and hunting buddy Doug Dulmage.

Patrick had just ridden with Dulmage in his combine a few days ago.

"He was a pillar of the community; it's a total devastating loss," Pat Traynor said. "He epitomized what it was like to be in the country, in terms of friendliness, kindness, empathy, people helping each other."


The husband and father of two girls was shot and killed Monday evening while combining wheat.

Three of his farm hands were also found shot to death about a third of a mile across the field.

Those workers are related to each other, but police have not identified them.

All four bodies were found around 6 p.m., when the family of one of the farmhands came to check on their loved one who had not come home.

Investigators aren't disclosing any information at this time and won't comment on who pulled the trigger, but Dulmage's family has been informed it was not him.

"It's such a terror act, it's an act of terror you don't think about up here," Pat Traynor said.

Dulmage was the president of the Benson County Farm Bureau and a first responder in his hometown of Leeds.

Pat Traynor remembers when Dulmage responded to his Fargo neighborhood during the flood of 2009.


"He got there at about four in the morning, and he worked for about 48 hours nonstop for our whole neighborhood, and set up pumps because we all thought we were going to lose our neighborhood," he recalled.

Dulmage is being remembered as a quiet servant, a man with a tremendous heart, always giving hope to others.

"He was a generous soul," Pat Traynor said. "He did things under the radar. He was more of a quiet giver, but if he did have his name on something, it was only to encourage more people to give."

A small farming community mourning the loss of its gem. Other farmers plan on helping Dulmage's family plow his fields.

"If we could all be a bit more like Doug, the world would be a much better place," Pat Traynor said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
What to read next
A cattle rancher near Medora, North Dakota, is working to preserve bird dwellings through the Audubon Conservation Ranching program.