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Rapid City Cold Cases

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Rapid City, South Dakota Cold Cases

Located in western South Dakota, the city of Rapid City is a thriving metropolis renowned for its scenic splendor and cultural depth. A number of missing and murdered people have gone unexplained in Rapid City since 1980, despite the city's outward appearance of idyllic charm.

Almost 400 homicide and missing person investigations are still open in South Dakota, with the majority of those occurring in the state's three largest cities (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre) according to data from the Attorney General's Office. There are several decades-old cold cases in Rapid City alone.

The passage of time presents a difficulty in solving cold cases. Evidence may have been lost or destroyed, memories may have faded, and witnesses and suspects may have passed away. In a community like Rapid City, where residents and visitors alike come and go frequently, it can be exceptionally challenging to locate witnesses and suspects.

Even with these obstacles, the Rapid City Police Department is dedicated to solving these crimes. The department's Cold Case Unit is comprised of veteran detectives who investigate and reopen cold cases.

Moreover, the department works with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to solve crimes. The division also engages the local populace in its efforts to acquire intelligence and find new leads.

New technological developments have also opened up potential leads in the investigation of cold cases. The Rapid City Police Department is looking into the potential of DNA evidence, which has been vital in solving several high-profile cold cases elsewhere in the country, to do the same in Rapid City.

Famous cold cases in Rapid City

The Rapid City community has not given up hope in solving these crimes. They keep holding memorials and vigils in the hopes that new information may be discovered about their loved ones.

The help of the community is also essential in solving these crimes. People who may have information about a case are advised to contact authorities, even if they believe their knowledge to be inconsequential.

The Rapid City Police Department's Cold Case Unit works to solve cold cases and deliver justice to victims' loved ones and those responsible for the crimes they committed. The agency is nonetheless dedicated to pursuing these cases and giving closure to people who have been traumatized by these tragedies, despite the fact that the path to justice may be lengthy and winding.

In conclusion, the numbers of people who have gone missing or been murdered in Rapid City, South Dakota since 1980 are a sobering reminder that no place is safe from violence. Some of these cases have been solved, but many more are still open. The community and law enforcement must collaborate to deliver justice to the victims' loved ones and provide them the answers they need.

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.

What is Rapid City Police Department (RCPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Reviewing all evidence, conducting new investigations, making use of cutting-edge forensic technology, and collaborating closely with the community are all parts of the Rapid City Police Department's multifaceted strategy for investigating cold cases.

An important part of any investigation is going through the case file and all of the evidence that has been collected up to that point, such as witness statements, physical evidence, and forensic evidence. This helps detectives learn more about the situation and spot any holes in their research.

The Cold Case Unit shares information and collaborates on investigations with other law enforcement agencies, including the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Also, the department frequently solicits public participation in solving these cases. To do so, they may announce fresh details about a case to the press, hold public events to attract potential witnesses, and solicit tips from locals.

Technology advancements have also been important in the department's efforts to crack cold cases. The agency is looking into how Genetic evidence, which has been crucial in solving several high-profile cases around the country, may be utilized to solve crimes in Rapid City.

The department's plan also includes updating the victims' loved ones on the investigation's development. This gives them closure and motivates them to keep sharing information that may lead to an arrest or prosecution.

The Rapid City Police Department's Cold Case Unit works to identify those responsible for cold cases and bring those responsible to justice. Although researching cold cases and bringing closure to individuals affected by disasters can be challenging and time-consuming, the department is dedicated to doing so.

A comprehensive analysis of all evidence, extensive community engagement, and the application of cutting-edge forensic techniques and technology are the cornerstones of the Rapid City Police Department's strategy for investigating cold cases. Department officials are dedicated to helping victims' loved ones find peace of mind and putting those responsible for crimes to account by marshaling these tools and collaborating closely with the neighborhood.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Cold cases are investigated by law enforcement in South Dakota, and there are other services available to help as well. Some examples:

The Cold Case Unit of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation investigates cold cases of homicide that have been open for a long period. They are responsible for conducting statewide investigations alongside local law enforcement.

Attorney General's Office of South Dakota: The Attorney General's Office is also active in reviewing cold cases and providing help and resources to local law enforcement authorities. There is a department dedicated to helping victims' loved ones called Victim Services.

The purpose of the South Dakota Cold Case Playing Cards is to increase public awareness of cold cases and encourage the submission of tips regarding unsolved homicides in the state. There is a photo and information on a separate cold case on each of the cards. Inmates at prisons around the state are given the cards in the hopes that one of them might know something that can lead to an arrest in the case.

Anyone can report crimes anonymously through Crime Stoppers, a national organization. Rewards for information leading to an arrest or indictment are offered by numerous local South Dakota Crime Stoppers organizations.

DNA Testing: New methods for analyzing a person's genetic material have led to the resolution of long-cold cases. DNA testing is one of the many services offered by the South Dakota State Crime Lab to the state's law enforcement organizations.

Major cities surrounding Rapid City, South Dakota

Gillette, Wyoming
Spearfish, South Dakota
Sturgis, South Dakota
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Pierre, South Dakota

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