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Searched, Seized, Solved: Lykken Speaks Out About Cold Case

April 24, 2014, 10:11 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Searched, Seized, Solved: Lykken Speaks Out About Cold Case

For the past decade there have been nothing but questions surrounding Kerwyn Lykken's Union County farm.

"You read in the paper about all the things they found down here so that's just a cloud of suspicion. It was just accusations," Kerwyn Lykken said.

Up until the past week there weren't too many answers.

"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.

In August of 2004, Kerwyn Lykken was greeted by state agents who had descended upon his farm to search the property for evidence connecting the Lykkens to the 1971 disappearance of Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller. The search lasted five days.

2004 STORY: Investigators Continue To Search For Clues In Union County

"He said we're here for a car, we're here for two girls, two bodies and I was standing outside this shop looking at them and I said, 'You guys are crazy,'" Lykken said.

Investigators were back again in November.

The public has never been told what was taken when the search warrants were executed until this week when Kerwyn Lykken received all the items back from state investigators. Items including gloves agents thought were covered in blood.

"Rubber gloves that were used to refinish furniture. Rags that were used to finish furniture. A red purse they made a big deal about and I have a sister in Sioux Falls that I have pictures of her with that purse," Lykken said.

Chicken and cow bones were also seized. The state says investigators thought the items may have evidentiary value, but it turned out the suspected evidence didn't have any connection to the case.

It’s a case that was broken wide open last fall when the 1960 Studebaker Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller were riding in the night they disappeared was found in Brule Creek about six miles south of the Lykken farm. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced last week that it appears the girls were involved in a tragic car crash and no foul play is suspected.

READ STORY: Car Crash Behind Missing Girls Mystery

"I would like to ask a prosecutor in the state of South Dakota to come down and look at this stuff and see how they would have made a murder case. How they would have got a conviction on this murder case by looking at this evidence they took from our farm," Lykken said.

Lykken's brother, David, who is serving a more than 200-year sentence for an unrelated rape conviction, was charged three years after the search of the farm he grew up on. Investigators also took several letters Lykken's mother wrote to David in prison. The charges were later dismissed when it was revealed that a prison snitch Aloysius Black Crow was lying about a jailhouse confession he said David made to him.

2008 STORY: Lawyers: Black Crow 'Framed' Lykken

Kerwyn says those charges and accusations have impacted his family for the past ten years.

"My younger son did not go to school for a week and a half, or two weeks because the kids teased him so bad. How would you like that to happen to your family?" Kerwyn said.

Investigators also broke up the concrete floors in some of Lykken's farm sheds looking for the Studebaker which was later found in Brule Creek. Kerwyn said he's had several sleepless nights because of the case over the past ten years. He even prayed that the Studebaker would be uncovered during the Missouri River flooding a few years ago because many thought the girls might have been going to a party near the river that night.

"I said to God, and I mean this, I said 'bring that car up.' The Missouri River, all that flooding and you see the damage it did and no car was ever found. I'll be honest I was mad at God and I got over it and I said 'God you still need to find a car,'" Lykken said.

Kerwyn says the discovery of the Studebaker was an answered prayer even though he says the accusations have put his family through hell.

"You saw it on every TV. You heard it on every radio station. So once you get that cloud of suspicion over there, and even if my family was telling the truth, the cloud of suspicion far outweighed trying to tell the truth because the power of the DCI was unlimited, the power of the Attorney General's Office was unlimited," Kerwyn said.

Now, Lykken hopes that cloud can be lifted and by telling his story he hopes eyes will be opened.

"So by telling our side of the story, which is the truth nobody believed us but it's the truth, I'm going to get it out there that law enforcement people can do a lot of things through the court system or whatever tactics they use and maybe we should keep a better eye over them. Maybe we should be watching a little bit better," Lykken said.

Jackley was not in office at the time of the Lykken search but says he has read the warrant and he said law enforcement was justified in searching the farm based on the information they had in 2004.

"Certainly the search was necessary based upon what law enforcement knew at that time. It's unfortunate there was some disruption for the Lykken family but if you look back at all the material and information in 2004 that's contained in that file I think the public generally would appreciate that law enforcement was looking for two missing girls,” Jackley said.

Jackley says he filed a motion Thursday to unseal the search warrant. It’s now up to a Union County judge to make that decision.
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