The Ugly Truth
The Ugly Truth

The Curious Case of A Family of Five Found Dead in Minnesota

Did a father and husband really kill his wife and three teenage children?

At the top of the ancient ruins in Quintana Roo in Mexico

9/19/15 – Chaska, MN - Dan Hennen

On September, 10, 2015 law enforcement found the bodies of five people in a Greenwood, MN home after a welfare check. Brian Short, 45, his wife Karen, 48 and their three children: Cole, 17, Madison, 15, and Brooklyn, 14, all died of a single shotgun wound to the head. All were found in separate bedrooms, except the father Brian. He was found in the garage.

The new school year began on Tuesday, September 8, and on September 10, classmates and teachers thought something wasn’t right as the three Short students missed the first two days of school. Brian also missed work those two days. A welfare check was requested by a co-worker of Brian’s and police stumbled upon a “grisly” scene at the home on Greenwood, MN, a 700-person community on the south side of Lake Minnetonka just outside of Minneapolis. The family dog, Harley was found unharmed.

The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Saturday, September 12 that all five died from a single shotgun wound to the head and that only Brian Short's wound was self-inflicted.

Brian Short was the founder of a networking site for nurses, which he started in 1999 when he was still a nursing student. He depicted the Excelsior-based company as a success in a 2014 interview with the Star Tribune.

He said he ran the operation out of his house until a year earlier. He had four staff people as of a year ago. He said the site was drawing 4 million unique visitors per month, with 150,000 unique users every day. And he said he had turned down 50 buyout offers in the past ten years.

Mike Siitari, the interim chief of the South Lake Minnetonka's police department stated "All evidence indicates Brian Short killed his family members in their bedrooms before turning the gun on himself," and “A shotgun was recovered at the scene.” But he didn’t say where exactly the weapon was found.
The media reports are indicating a possible motive. A pending lawsuit in New Jersey against was recently moved to Minneapolis at the end of August, and this was speculated to have “devastated” the founder and CEO. But research shows this was a defamation/libel lawsuit with 16 counts against the company. (Case #2:2015 cv-03202 actually listed as a “Trademark” lawsuit) The company is assumed to have insurance against these types of cases. It may have devastated Brian, but is that a valid motive to kill your entire family?
The next item discussed was “finances” and the possibility that financial hardship could have played a role in the motive here. Brian Short stated in his 2014 interview that he received 50 offers to buy his web-site and he has turned them all down. The family had recently been on a vacation to Cancun in April as well.

Brian Short’s networking/information/forum/resource site dedicated to the nursing profession is the largest in the world. The revenue was roughly one million per year and was growing. Advertising on the site was the main revenue producer and Brian had staff hired to specifically focus on that area. He could have sold the site and the company if things were hard. The $2 million home he recently bought on St. Alban’s Bay was more reason to contradict his “financial difficulties.”

The Facebook pages for the family members show a happy, loving, and connected family and Brian’s page has hundreds of photos of a happy family and his interest in photography of local nature on the lake. But the media portrays an unstable family because they chose to select a couple of son Cole’s posts from 2013 that a normal teenager that age would make. When I saw that, it first dawned on me that there is a certain slant here. Recent vacations and fishing trips show a normal family.
Brian was a loving, doting father, who attended all the kids sporting events and took the family on fun trips. But the lead headlines of most of the articles paint him as a cold-blooded murderer who snapped.

Statistically, the odds of a man killing his wife and all children, and then himself is extremely low, but DOES happen in situations involving history of domestic violence. There was no evidence of this either. Especially an intelligent, entrepreneur who was doing something he was gifted at for a career. He worked from home until 2013 and then rented office space in nearby Excelsior in a historic building that was at one time a school. had offices on the third floor of this building in nearby Excelsior, MN
Brian Short was the founder and CEO of His wife, Karen is listed as the Vice President of the company on her Linked-In Profile. There was a staff of less than 10 employees and a dozen more around the nation served as moderators/administrators on the company’s web site.
There are several items problematic in this case:
The use of a shotgun to commit the crimes. The firing of five shotgun blasts would have echoed through the neighborhood regardless of the time of day. Homes are very close to each other in this cul-de-sac area. Temperatures during those days were comfortable, especially during the night, where neighbors would have been potentially sleeping with their windows opened. Assuming the shootings took place during the night as we can assume (each of the children were sleeping), the first shot fired would have woken up the rest of the family. If not the first shot, certainly the second. It appears none of them woke up. One report states the wife, Karen, was on her phone desperately trying to reach 911 operators once she noticed what was happening. The blood-curdling screams of wife Karen, while being chased into another bedroom would have been loud also.
The 911 call would make sense, but what doesn’t make sense is that NO 911 call was made. There is no evidence from 911 dispatchers that they received a call at all. If you were to use a house phone or cell phone to see the “recent calls” they would only show calls “completed” as out-going calls. For law enforcement to say she was attempting to make these desperate calls, seems a stretch especially when the bodies were found days later, and the phone battery would have been likely drained by then.

The time to go to each room, shoot the victim, and proceed to the next room, shoot the victim, and then re-load the weapon seems something that was carried out by a cool-calculated killer. Brian allegedly was found in the family’s eight-car garage, dead of a shotgun wound to the head. Officials denied saying a shotgun was found by his side, but only a “shot gun was recovered at the scene.” It would be interesting to note how many firearms were registered to Brian (if any) and the make and model of each. Maybe all he owned was a shotgun, and the narrative here had to be steered in that direction. For five people killed in a home with no neighbors hearing anything suspicious, no dog barking, and no calls to 911 for “suspicious activity” from neighbors leads one to conclude this was completed by a hand-gun with a silencer attached and performed by someone other than a family member. It seemed to be a calculated killing, even a professional hit.

The dog retrieved at the scene is interesting, as we haven’t heard comments from neighbors about a barking dog or such. A barking dog would leave one to assume an intruder was in the home. With no dog barking, it would be the assumption, that if it was a homicide, it was done by someone the family knew.
The web-site called is also known for its “no-holds-barred” approach and any topic is freely discussed, whether or not it is deemed appropriate. Brian Short seemed to like his page to be transparent and nothing was off-topic. They "tell it like it is" from an insider's perspective. I just read a rant about keeping people alive artificially and the massive amounts the elderly are charged for tests and procedures they don't need. The medical profession may not have liked having this “dirt” thrown around and perhaps was the reason for the numerous “offers” to buy the site, to simply shut it down. Brian Short may have “declined” them all because he knew this was a way to keep everything in the open, regardless of the subject and regardless if it may have offended the powers that be. Does this case tie in with the recent deaths of holistic doctors and the missing persons that have now reached a dozen? Link We don’t know and don’t want to necessarily speculate, but it does warrant further discussion.
Forum Page:

Online at the forum, there is a special thread announcing the untimely death of Brian and the family. The thread is titled “Brian Short News” and there are 471 comments there from the people that Brian reached and condolences to the family and comments of “shock and disbelief” that is happened to this family. Reading through it I found some comments “edited” and those users questioning why their post was edited. It seems that any user who questioned the official narrative or doubted the police story, had their comments edited and in some cases removed altogether, because of the “disrespect it showed” to the survivors and co-workers.

It piqued my interest when I too, commented about the fact we should keep an open mind about what may or may not have happened in that home. There was then a post by the moderator saying this thread was only meant for condolences, and not intended for "speculation."  I made a comment saying "RIP to the family, and what a horrible situation this is and I was looking forward to more results of the investigation, because much of it didn't make sense.”  Soon afterwards, my comment was edited and my last section was removed. I received a private message from the moderator that mentioned they did indeed edit my post and if I wanted to speculate on what happened please feel free to create a new thread as this one was intended for condolences only.

Fair enough, I created a new thread on their site for those of us interested in looking into the strange circumstances in this case, and how could a father kill his family and how could none of the neighbors hear multiple shotgun blasts from the home. I quickly received some "likes" and several comments, but then it vanished. I refreshed my browser and found the thread was now "closed."  A message from the moderator said, the family is grieving and it is an insult to question what happened. I responded with, I am insulted at the thought that Brian Short committed these crimes, and until we know what happened, it is fair to speculate and I felt it is better, to have a new thread for this line of questioning and not to commingle this info with the "condolences" thread.

The following day I then linked to a Facebook Page called “Inquiry into the strange deaths of Brian Short and family.”
I posted a comment in the normal “condolences” forum with the link for anyone interested in following this case more closely. It was deleted within five minutes, again after several users “liked” it. I then received this private message from a "senior moderator":

"I'll reiterate: please use Google or some other internet search engine if you wish to find links to the myriad of news articles about the unfortunate events. Please do not crosslink any article links about the incident onto these forums.


Peoples' constitutional rights to free speech are not applicable to this privately owned forum. Thank you for understanding and appreciating this."

And also this “warning” was sent:
warning message received from the forum admin

It was at this point, I smelled a rat.

For a web-site that Brian Short took pride in using transparency, it now seemed that censorship was being used to prevent anyone on that site to even “suggest” there was foul play, and with the quick “likes” to my post I knew there was interest among other users.
The website thread kept focusing on the concept of “keeping Brian’s legacy alive with this site”, but never once acknowledging that the official narrative paints him as a cold-blooded killer. It is something that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around.
My home is only 8.5 miles from the Short house and I made a trip to the property and left flowers at the driveway. I don’t have reason to believe there is a conspiracy here, but the evidence does not support the fact that Brian committed these crimes, and the behavior of the moderators at the site, is strange to say the least. I believe they are not aware of the magnitude of this case, which has attracted international attention. An article posted on the Argentina-based Clarin shows 151 comments and has 1,298 shares as of the writing of this article.
Flowers at the entrance to the Short family home.
The phone call to the cleaning lady:
The house cleaning company, Polina's Cleaning Services, received a phone call by a woman who presented herself as Karen Short. She called to say she's cancelling the cleaning service "effective immediately" and did not give a reason why. The woman got along great with the family and was "shocked" to received this call. The question remains, was it Karen who called? This convenient call seems to have served two purposes: #1 to ensure no one would be in that home in the days before, during and after the killings, and #2 to help substantiate the narrative of "financial difficulties" for the Short family. This seems curious to say the least.
No suicide note:
Keep in mind there has been no known suicide note found at the scene explaining the reasons for this crime.
With the bodies found on September 10 "World Suicide Prevention Day", it appears Brian Short could have been a victim of a twisted joke. Link
Company records from the Minnesota Secretary of State, show the business is incorporated as, Inc. (As opposed to a Partnership or an LLC which dissolves when the owner(s) die.)
Records don’t indicate who the shareholders are and other officers of the company other than Brian and Karen Short. It could be a murky development.
The proximity of similarity of the David Crowley family murders in January, 2015 in which law enforcement quickly ruled that husband/father David Crowley, 29 killed his wife Komel and five year old daughter Rani before turning the gun on himself, took place less than 30 minutes away in Apple Valley, MN. In that case, each family member was found with a single bullet wound to the head and the family dog was also unharmed. The investigation to that particular case is still ongoing according to Apple Valley Police.

Since this webiste was updated, the original "comments" were lost.   Here are the comments.  

106 Page Lawsuit
050715 Lawsuit Short 106 Pages.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [7.2 MB]

Write a comment


  • Michael Fuchs (Friday, August 26 16 07:41 pm EDT)

    Its obvious he they where killed by the goverment and masonic terrorist military. The text on the wall says it all.

  • Former Member (Thursday, December 14 17 11:54 pm EST)

    Not surprised that you experienced censorship. I left the site when I was placed on moderation because a recipient of a private message I'd sent had supposedly complained about my message. My recipient did no such thing, and the members had long suspected that the moderators were reading our private messages. Not long after I left it was openly admitted that private messages are indeed read.

  • squeegee beckenheim (Friday, August 24 18 05:32 pm EDT)

    this absolutely blows my mind. i mean, i’m shocked but i’m not surprised if that makes sense. thank you for this. honestly.

  • Mashudu (Friday, October 26 18 01:37 am EDT)

    It's a tragedy and it doesn't make sense that the senior moderator wouldn't seem to be happy when people assist in perusing to find Brian's and his family's cause of death

  • Otis Criblecoblis (Saturday, December 22 18 07:16 pm EST)

    "It was at this point, I smelled a rat"

    Give it up! Brian Short was a psycho who murdered his family. It doesn't matter that he presented his family as a Leave It To Beaver clone ...they has serious problems & he couldn't deal with them. Financial, probably. And, I suspect, something much deeper under the surface. Good riddance to Brian Short!

  • Valerie (Wednesday, January 22 20 07:29 pm EST)

    As a nurse I appreciate the critical thinking demonstrated here as well as questioning the status quo. It seems it is well founded. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Another Former Member (Saturday, October 10 20 06:19 pm EDT)

    How does Brian Short differ from Chris Watts or Scott Peterson? Brian Short had a successful business and some extremely successful impression management. A recent article on the website Short founded puts forward the narrative that a fast-moving mental illness killed Brian and his family -- it wasn't really Brian's fault. That article doesn't mention Karen, Brooklyn, Cole or Madison Short. Just collateral damage, I guess. It's ironic that they published that article during Domestic Violence month. I cannot feel at all sorry for Brian when I know how his wife must have been suffering, hearing him killing her children and knowing that she would be next. Where is the sympathy for her?

  • Jane Dough (Tuesday, January 18 22 03:46 pm EST)

    Something is fishy in Denmark. You're onto something. If Brian was a psycho there would have been red flags concerning his behavior. I haven't read any. The FACT that not one neighbor heard shots from a shot gun is a big red flag!

  • Sarah (Monday, May 16 22 03:50 pm EDT)

    Finally posting after all these years. Brian was a well known asshole. As the writer said, Brian did not believe in free speech, and had his mods, super mods, and fellow Administrators pull posts off the Forms to be ‘discussed’. He would often ban people for no other reason than ‘control’. Start another site? Well, he’d join using his ‘other’ name at AN, and ‘troll’.

    I have always questioned the so-called numbers of people joining the site. Anything can be inflated.

  • Tim Carter (Monday, May 30 22 07:05 am EDT)

    To Dan Hennen:

    You, unfortunately, don't have all the facts. Brian was a member of a secret Internet Mastermind group I helped found.

    Brian had happen to him what happened to me back in 2011. Overnight Brian lost perhaps 90% of his income.

    He was a brilliant man. He was a registered nurse that knew all about drugs.

    He dropped into severe depression about his income disappearing like a puff of smoke in a windstorm.

    He went to a doctor that prescribed PSYCHOTROPIC drugs. You need to go read the side effects of these evil drugs.

    Brian was taking these drugs at the time he murdered his family.

    He had no past history of violent behavior.

    All you have to ask yourself is one question: "What does it take to put a shotgun barrel to the head of your sleeping child?"

    Once again, go read the side effects of these evil drugs. Then, while you're at it, get out a piece of graph paper.

    Graph the INTRODUCTION of these against all the mass shootings we've had here in the USA in the past 20 years or so. Then recall how many stories you read about the shooter being "treated for depression".

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  • Concerned citizen (Wednesday, July 19 23 08:42 pm EDT)

    It’s amazing how much you have to full on invent / make up lies about to make your conspiracy work. Multi million dollar homes are not built as close to each other as you seem to be implying. They do not often leave the windows open, they have temp and humidity controls. This is especially true for very large homes on a lake, where the humidity is much higher. You have no idea what the dog did or how it usually behaves. Family annihilators are rare, but much more rare than someone who isn’t family annihilating a family? I doubt it. You’re pretending these are logical conclusions, but it’s actually complete fabrication.

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