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South Dakota Cold Cases

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South Dakota Murders

If you want to delve deeper into the statistics on the number of murders in South Dakota by year, there seem to be numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement and investigative groups with thorough records available on their websites. Each year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation develops and publishes the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which contains precise statistical data on the kinds of crimes perpetrated in various cities and counties throughout each state, as well as their regularity. In addition to the resources provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigatoin, Project: Cold Case seems to be an invaluable tool, providing the general population with a comprehensive list of the number of murders committed in every state from 1980 to 2019, compiled with the assistance of The Murder Accountability Project, as well as providing an expanding database of nearly 25,000 unsolved murders. As per Project: Cold Case, there were around 773 homicides in South Dakota between 1980 and 2019. Approximately 556 of those killings were solved over the years, leaving about 207 unsolved murders in South Dakota.

Some of the unsolved murders in northern South Dakota include Monica Bercier-Wickre’s murder in 1993, Sharon Baldeagle’s disappearance in 1984, Pah Pow’s disappearance in 2016, and Stanley Allen Strole’s disappearance in 1979. Unsolved murders in central South Dakota include the 2006 murder of Victoria “Vicki” Eagleman, the 1981 murder of Warlene Gayton, and the 1981 triple murder of LaDonna Mathis and her two boys, as well as the 2016 disappearance of Larissa Lone Hill and the 2003 disappearance of Beverly Ozuna-Ulrich.

Unsolved South Dakota Murders

Currently, there are around 207 South Dakota cold cases, according to Project: Cold Case. Many of the unsolved murders in South Dakota can be found organized by many local and county law enforcement websites, in addition to Project Cold Case’s growing unsolved homicides database, which currently includes almost 25,000 cases from around the country.

Among the numerous unsolved homicides in northern South Dakota documented on different law enforcement websites are the 1993 murder of Monica Bercier-Wickre, the 1984 disappearance of Sharon Baldeagle, the 2016 disappearance of Pah Pow, and the 1979 disappearance of Stanley Allen Strole. Although there are no unsolved murders in Pierre, South Dakota, there are a few missing individuals, including Linda Marie Law, who went missing in 2002, and Francis Witt, who went missing in 2020. Other unsolved murders in South Dakota featured throughout the lists of unsolved crimes also include several unsolved murders in east South Dakota. These include the 2015 murder of Alicia Hummell and the 1992 murder of Tammy Haas, as well as the 2013 disappearance of Rachel Cyriacks, the 2001 disappearance of Pamela Jean Dunn, the 1974 disappearance of Ellabeth Mae Lodermeier, the 2010 disappearance of Andrew Jon Lufkins, and the 1977 disappearance of Ode Edwin Ulver.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.

Famous South Dakota Murders

If you are interested in true crime, you might have an interest in unsolved cases as well as solved cases, many of which may be shown in the list of all murders in South Dakota, list of South Dakota murders, or perhaps even list of murders in South Dakota. On such lists, you will not only discover solved and unsolved cases, but also famous South Dakota murders, notorious South Dakota criminals, famous disappearances, and sometimes even significant South Dakota serial killers.

Monica Bercier-Wickre‘s murder in 1993, as well as many other well-known unexplained disappearances, is one of the most prominent unsolved homicides in South Dakota. The 2016 disappearance of Larissa Lone Hill, the 2013 disappearance of Rachel Cyriacks, and the 2003 disappearance of Beverly Ozuna-Ulrichare just a few of South Dakota’s seemingly well-known unresolved missing persons cases.

Homicide Rate in South Dakota

The violent crime rate in South Dakota was roughly 399 per 100,000 people in 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). In a nutshell, this implies that 399 South Dakota people per 100,000 were directly affected by violent crime in 2019. According to the same information, the South Dakota murders rate in 2019 was 1.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. This indicates that roughly two individuals were murdered for every 100,000 South Dakota inhabitants in 2019.

Pierre, South Dakota’s capital, now has a population of only 13,000 people. The violent crime rate in Pierre, South Dakota, was about 498.22 per 100,000 people in 2018, and the murder rate in Pierre, South Dakota, was 0 per 100,000 people. Although there is no way of knowing how many murders will occur in South Dakota in 2021 or how many murders in Pierre, South Dakota, 2021, we do know that, based on archival records, the homicide rates in both Pierre and South Dakota as a whole appear to be rising every year.

Hughes County Murders

Hughes County, South Dakota, has a total population of nearly 281,000 people as of the most recent census. Based on its average violent crime and homicide rate, there are fewer homicides that go unsolved for longer periods of time than in many other states. Although we don’t know how many Hughes County murders have occurred in recent years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s yearly Uniform Crime Reports can provide some reliable information. Based on these figures, it appears that the number of killings in Hughes County every year has been constant for a long time.

Homicide detectives can sometimes acquire enough Hughes County murders evidence to arrest and charge a suspect with the crime before bringing them to a Hughes County murders trial. Depending on the nature of the crime, the most typical forms of evidence utilized in Hughes County homicide cases are DNA evidence, trace evidence, biological evidence, and even Hughes County homicide crime scene pictures.

Pierre, South Dakota, Murders

Murders in Pierre, South Dakota, appear to occur more regularly than in most, if not all, other cities in the state, most likely due to the city’s size and population. According to Project: Cold Case, most homicides in Pierre, South Dakota, are swiftly solved, owing in part to law enforcement efforts and advancements in forensic technology; nonetheless, officials continue to investigate the state’s remaining unsolved killings. As with every other state, until all of their killings are solved, the Pierre murders will be discussed incessantly on various social media sites.Users gather on Facebook, Websleuths, and Reddit to speculate, share theories and information, and have conversations about every detail of a case, often including examples such as Pierre murders pictures, Pierre murders crime scene photos, and even Pierre, South Dakota, murders autopsy photos, among the most popular within the true crime community.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of cold cases of all ages have been solved in every state in the United States thanks to breakthroughs in DNA technology. The 1968 murder of Gwen Miller and the 1971 double murder of Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson are two examples of cold cases in which Pierre murders DNA or DNA from crimes that occurred in other regions of South Dakota has been utilized to solve cold cases.

South Dakota Serial Killers

Surprisingly, although there have been plenty of South Dakota killers throughout history, South Dakota has not had any true serial killers. The most famous South Dakota serial killers can be found on any top ten or other form of serial killer list, including list of serial killers in South Dakota and South Dakota serial killer list. The most notorious of South Dakota serial killers who are often found on these lists is Robert Leroy Anderson. Although not technically considered a serial killer, Robert Anderson murdered 2 young women in 1994 and 1996 in South Dakota.

Crimes in South Dakota

The Murder Accountability Project, Project: Cold Case, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are excellent sites for learning more about crime in South Dakota, including crime data. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report is ideal for learning about the many sorts of crimes that occur in South Dakota, as well as the crime statistics in each area. Although it may appear like South Dakota will not be able to close every South Dakota homicide or true crime story in South Dakota, consider how far they have come in recent times. To recap, there were roughly 773 murders in South Dakota between 1980 and 2019. Since that time, approximately 566 of those cases have already been solved, leaving the state with just 207 unresolved killings.

The advancements have been made possible by advances in forensic technology, as well as law enforcement’s efforts and tenacity in even the most challenging cold cases. Finally, detectives from different law enforcement and investigative organizations around the state will continue to look into the remaining cold cases until all of South Dakota’s true crimes have been solved, no matter the amount of time it takes for them to close all of the remaining cases.

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