SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Police have arrested two men in connection with a death investigation that spans from a burned-out home in Sioux Falls to a wooded area east of Lake Alvin. Each suspect faces the possibility of life in prison in connection with the death of 27-year-old Joseph Cynkar.
Cynkar's body was found Tuesday lying next to a pickup truck near the Big Sioux River in Iowa. Court papers say Cynkar's wrists, knees and feet were tied with coax cable. A hood covered his head, secured by tape wrapped around his neck. At this point, no one is charged in the death, but Benjamin Carter and Payton Strum are charged with kidnapping and robbery, and the list could grow.
Police say Carter and Strum paid a visit to Cynkar's home on East Hermosa Drive Monday, planning to rob him.
"They knew that there was going to be some money there and that's why they specifically went to that residence and to this person," Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel said.
But the robbery escalated to an assault. Early autopsy results show Cynkar died of suffocation and a blow to his head. Police don't know yet when or exactly where he died. But they say Carter and Strum drove Cynkar to a secluded area east of Lake Alvin, in his own truck, where they dumped his body.
"We do know that the truck got stuck where it was so it was not going any further. So whether that was the desired site or that's where they ended up, I don't know," Barthel said.
Barthel says the truck provided several clues, including blood evidence, that helped the investigation. Police arrested Carter and Strum Thursday at the Days Inn Motel at 41st Street and Gateway Boulevard, but not before Strum jumped out of a second floor window.
Police say Strum set fire to the house following Monday's robbery. City records have Carter listed as the home's owner.
A judge set Carter's bail at $500,000.
Police say someone gave one of the suspects a ride back to Sioux Falls from the Granite, Iowa, area. And while they don't believe the driver was involved in the crime, police do want that person to contact investigators.
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