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Murder Indictments Mean Cynkar Killed In SD

August 6, 2010, 5:55 PM by Perry Groten

Murder Indictments Mean Cynkar Killed In SD
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A Sioux Falls robbery-turned kidnapping turned-arson is now also a murder investigation. A Minnehaha County grand jury has handed-down first-degree murder charges against the two men arrested in last month's death of Joseph Cynkar.

Sioux Falls police arrested Benjamin Carter and Payton Strum just more than two weeks ago, charging them with kidnapping and robbery.
Since then, prosecutors say their investigation has determined that both men killed Joseph Cynkar in South Dakota, before dumping his body just across the border in Iowa.

Investigators say Benjamin Carter and Payton Strum wanted Joseph Cynkar's money. But the robbery last month ended in murder. Prosecutors won't say whether they believe Cynkar was killed at his Sioux Falls home, but the indictments mean his killing did take place in the county.

"It's safe to say that with the grand jury issuing the indictment for murder in the first in Minnehaha County, certainly that allegation would mean that portion of these crimes occurred here," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.

Court papers say Cynkar's body was found lying next to his truck in Lyon County, Iowa. His wrists, knees and feet were bound with cable. Preliminary autopsy results show Cynkar died from suffocation and a blow to the head. But his suspected killers had been in custody for more than two weeks before the murder indictments came down.

"The body was found in Iowa, we had multiple law enforcement agencies from two different states working this case, it's been an ongoing investigation, it continues to be an ongoing investigation," McGowan said.

McGowan says right now, it's still too early to decide whether to seek the death penalty against both suspects.

"It's an ongoing investigation and those decisions will be made much later," McGowan said.

McGowan says he'll rely upon the help of Iowa law enforcement agencies in prosecuting the case in Minnehaha County. Carter and Strum are expected to be arraigned on the murder charges next week.

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