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AG: New details coming in 1976 South Dakota cold case

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley (file)

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is hinting at a break in a decades-old cold case.

Jackley said next week, his office will release new information from an incident in August 1976 where a man’s body was found in the Missouri River.

During an interview with SDPB’s In the Moment with Lori Walsh, Jackley said the breakthrough was assisted by his department’s new Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s office.

He said investigators are looking at old cases with new technology.

“We took this opportunity to do some additional testing, and we were able to positively identify this person,” Jackley said. “At this point, it appears to have been an accidental drowning. We always want to keep an open mind and look at the evidence. But at this juncture, we’re able to inform the loved ones of the individual, give them a little more information about what may have happened, and really solve that mystery from Aug. 9, 1976.”

Jackley said this shows what can be accomplished when tribal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together.

"That's an example of what this program is doing, the success of it. And of course, a lot of that success is due to our Native American partners, and our local law enforcement," Jackley said. "It's the sheriffs, it's the chiefs. Those are the ones that are doing the investigation that are getting good results."

Last November, the Attorney General’s office announced the hiring of a MMIP coordinator and advisory council.

In addition to solving cold cases and other crimes, Jackley said his office is emphasizing resolving active missing person cases within tribal communities.

Lori Walsh is the host and senior producer of In the Moment.
Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.
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