After more than 40 years, the families of two missing teenage girls now know what happened to them. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Tuesday that skeletal remains found in September in a submerged 1960 Studebaker are that of Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson.
Jackley says a car crash killed them and authorities have ruled out foul play.
Miller and Jackson were last seen heading to a party at a nearby gravel pit in May 1971. Their families declined interviews but in a statement say they will, "now be able to finish the last chapter of this journey."
One family that is also hoping to find closure with Tuesday’s announcement is the Lykken family. The Lykkens' Union County farm was searched in 2004 as investigators tried to piece together the cold case.
"It's not only the two families that were involved in this here. There's a third family and that's the Lykken family," Kerwyn Lykken said.
Lykken was visibly upset with South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley after the press conference Tuesday saying state investigators have quote, 'Put my family through hell.'
Lykken spoke to KELOLAND News on the phone Tuesday night.
"We've been put through the wringer more than most families in the state of South Dakota," Lykken said.
In August of 2004, investigators dug up the Lykken farm for four days searching for the Studebaker that was found in Brule Creek last fall.
"Every building they went and busted up cement in my building saying, 'We're looking for a car.' How would you like that?" Lykken said.
The Lykken farm was searched again in November 2004 and then in 2007, Kerwyn's brother David was charged with killing the two Vermillion teens after a jailhouse informant claimed he recorded David Lykken confessing to the crime. It was later learned the informant was lying and the charges were dropped.
Kerwyn Lykken says state agents even tried to get him to confess to killing the girls, which is just part of the reason he’s been upset with the investigation.
"If I would get a little perturbed, I think most people would act a little more crazy than I did," Lykken said.
Lykken says if anything comes from Tuesday’s announcement it's the fact that his family has been telling the truth for the past ten years.
"In some ways, it’s a relief for us but when you finally say to yourself you were the only one, and my family was the only one, telling the truth for all these years, should you be relieved about that?" Lykken said.
The Lykkens did sue the state for $400,000 arguing investigators caused significant property damage during their searches and falsely accused the family of not cooperating. The lawsuit was dismissed and later upheld by the Federal Courts in 2010.