KEYSTONE, SD -
A peaceful stretch of Iron Mountain Road between Keystone and Custer State Park turned into a possible crime scene on Saturday afternoon after travelers made a troubling discovery.
"They were taking photographs and through that process they observed what they believed was a body," Capt. Cory Brubakken with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said.
After arriving on the scene, sheriff's deputies confirmed it was the body of a woman and that she had been there for awhile.
"The body is highly decomposed; we estimate that it had been there about a month. That's just an estimate at this time, but at this time of year, decomposition happens at a fairly quick rate," Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said.
Because of the condition of the body, authorities are still trying to determine the identity of the woman left lying in the brush and how she died. It's a difficult task, but the sheriff is hopeful investigators will start finding more answers soon.
"We do have some partial prints on the person yet that aren't completely decomposed. Hopefully, we can get an ID either today or tomorrow if we're lucky," Thom said.
Any open missing person cases are being looked into to see whether the woman could be from the area.
"Getting the body identified will be a significant step because then we'll be able to notify the family and it might give us some additional leads to as to where the person may have been prior to their death," Thom said.
At this point, Thom doesn't know if foul play is to blame for the death. An autopsy on the body should be completed by the end of the week.
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