Dawes County Attorney/Coroner Vance Haug says a bailiff found dead in his home Tuesday afternoon died of natural causes.
The body of 80-year old Ken Korte of rural Chadron was found by Dawes County Sheriff’s deputies about 4:00 after the Sheriff’s Office received a request for a welfare check because Korte hadn’t been seen or heard from for almost a week.
The deputies called in Haug to assist in the investigation, which included gathering evidence at the scene, witness statements, and a review of Korte’s medical records.
Haug says after reviewing all the information, including the fact that Korte had been in poor health in recent weeks, he determined the death was from natural causes.
Korte worked at Chadron State College for several years and was the interim director of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center during its creation with the remodeling and expansion of the original CSC library.
Among his duties as interim director was preparing the original display areas for the center, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its opening this month.
Korte, then-CSC writing instructor Deb Carpenter-Nolting, and students from one of Carpenter’s classes in 2004 published a book on Chadron as part of Arcadia Publishing “Images of America” series.
The book used historical images from collections in the Sandoz Center, the Dawes County Museum, and other sources to trace the history of Chadron and its people.
After retiring from the college, Korte became one of the first group of part-time bailiffs hired for the Dawes County Courthouse, primarily to screen individuals entering the courtroom.
Korte was also one of the founders and organizers of Chadron’s annual Classics in the Park car show.