The South Dakota Attorney General's Office says investigators needed to search the Lykken’s Union County farm ten years ago in connection with a 1971 cold case but it turns out there was no connection at all.
Authorities announced last week that Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson were involved in a tragic crash that caused their 1960 Studebaker to plunge into Brule Creek in 1971. There was no foul play, but in 2004, investigators suspected Kerwyn Lykken and his family might be involved.
The Lykken name has been connected just as closely to the 1971 case as the Jackson and Miller names for the past ten years. Now that the case is closed, Kerwyn Lykken says he hopes the cloud hanging over his family can finally be lifted.
"Do I feel vindicated about this here?” Lykken asked Thursday during an interview with KELOLAND News. “I'll say, no, I don't feel vindicated because we told the truth and we told the truth from day one.”
Old car parts and animal bones were all part of the seizure. It's suspected evidence that was returned to Lykken this week after the South Dakota Attorney General's Office closed the 1971 cold case.
In 2004, authorities spent five days digging up the Lykken farm looking for the Studebaker that was eventually found in Brule Creek last September.
Three years after the search, agents charged Kerwyn's brother, David, who was already serving prison time in an unrelated rape case, with murdering Miller and Jackson. Those charges were dismissed after prison snitch Aloysius Black Crow admitted to lying about Lykken's jailhouse confession.
"They set out to not just convict David, they set out to destroy our name. I haven't lived my life to let anybody destroy my name. I'm proud of my heritage. I'm proud of my family," Lykken said.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was not in office at the time of the search, but has reviewed the search warrant and says he would have signed off on the search based on the information law enforcement had at the time.
"It's unfortunate that there was a disruption for the Lykken family, but given all that law enforcement knew at that time, it was a search that needed to happen to find two missing girls," Jackley said.
Jackley says he filed a motion Thursday afternoon to have that search warrant unsealed.
"I am asking the court system to review that and possibly unseal that information so that everybody has an understanding of exactly what law enforcement had back in 2004," Jackley said.
And why investigators thought the items returned to Lykken this week might have had a cold case connection.
"It's not a game that we're playing. This is real life. This is my family being torn apart, being talked about, being accused of and then it was lies," Lykken said.
A Union County judge will make the final decision on unsealing the search warrant.