Vicki Eagleman disappeared after a day spent swimming near the Lower Brule Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A month later her nude body was found in a culvert miles away from where she was last seen.
It took weeks for a search to take place once Vicki went missing, even with a history of domestic violence. But what's more strange in Vicki's still-unsolved murder is that files related to the investigation were found on the sidewalk outside the police station, essentially thrown away.
Vicki Eagleman was newly divorced and had recently moved into her mother June’s home on Lower Brule Lakota Indian Reservation along with her five children—a temporary setup until she was able to figure out her next step. She had started dating Bernard Laroche, or Sonny as he was known to his friends. And according to her mother, it was a volatile relationship; leaving her daughter with multiple stitches and bruises on her body more than once.
The day Vicki went missing
On July 28, 2006, Vicki along with Sonny, his sister, her boyfriend, and Vicki’s sister spent the day swimming and drinking on Lower Brule Lakota Indian Reservation along the Missouri River. That day multiple witnesses recall seeing Vicki and her friends going to Lower Brule Lakota Indian Reservation to drink along the Missouri River.
That night, Sonny makes it home to June's house and says that Vicki had dropped him off; but he didn't know where she went. The following day, Vicki's sister returns home and reports that she had seen Vicki that morning; but she also shared that Vicki and Sonny had been arguing the previous day. When Sonny is questioned about Vicki’s whereabouts, he says that he hadn’t seen her since he dropped her off the previous evening.
Days later, on August 3, Vicki still hasn't returned; forcing June to formally report her missing. It should be noted that Vicki's stepfather, June's husband, was a member of the tribal police. This reservation is known for being a small, rural, and tight-knit community with approximately 1,300 residents in South Dakota.
Later that month, Vicki’s glasses are discovered by her children nearly a block away from their home. They were smashed and appeared as if they’d been driven over, a ring Vicki was known to wear was also discovered nearby. Both of these items were turned over to law enforcement. Then, June started to get bizarre phone calls from members of the local community about their theories on what happened to Vicki including providing awful details in the last moments of Vicki’s life. June informed the police about these theories.
When she was discovered
On August 22nd, 2006, the community organized a land and water search consisting of nearly 200 people. Sonny did not participate in those search parties and when he was interviewed about her disappearance he referred to Vicki in the past tense. Unfortunately, nothing was found on the first day of the search. However, the following day, Vicki’s naked body was found in a remote area of the Lower Brule Reservation stuffed in a culvert. There was evidence of a blunt force trauma to the head, but the clothing Vicki was last seen wearing: a tan shirt with spaghetti straps, jean shorts, a light blue scarf, and wearing flip-flop sandals were never recovered.
Vicki's family was told that police had suspects in the case, shortly after she was found. However, no substantial leads ever surfaced, and then, in 2006, Vicki’s case file was discovered alongside crime scene photos which were found on the street outside of the police department. It remains unclear how her case file got there but a good samaritan did return the file to the police.
How did Vicki’s case file end up outside the police station? Could something have gone missing in the file that would have identified her murderer?
Where the case stands today
In April 2007, the FBI and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe offered a reward for information in her case. To this day, no one has claimed the reward, and Vicki's case remains unsolved. Vicki is among 12 unsolved homicides of Indigenous women in South Dakota. If you have any information regarding Vicki’s case, please contact the FBI Pierre Office at (605)224-1331.