SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — She was kind, bright and had just started her career as a social worker in 1974. However, Ellabeth Lodermeier was also getting out of an abusive marriage. This edition of KELOLAND Investigates: Cold Cases, is looking into Ellabeth’s disappearance and the effort to bring her home.
What’s most troubling about this 50-year-old case is that investigators and Ellabeth’s family all believe that her estranged husband, Gene Lodermeier, was responsible for her mysterious disappearance. However, there was never enough evidence to charge him for a crime and Gene died in 2013.
That hasn’t stopped a Sioux Falls police detective from taking up the case six years ago. Detective Pat Mertes has conducted searches along the Big Sioux River east of Sioux Falls where Ellabeth’s wallet and checkbook turned up in 1992, 18 years after her disappearance.
“It’s one thing if we have her body and we don’t know who killed her. It’s solving that part of the mystery. But the mystery of where is she? Getting that closure for the family, her friends,” Det. Mertes said.
Closure is what Ellabeth’s niece tells us the family is still hoping for after all these years, along with Ellabeth’s boyfriend at the time she vanished.
“Ellabeth was here. She was on earth. She was born to her parents. She was helping people,” Jerry Thomas said.
Coming up Tuesday at 10, we have the twists and turns in this cold case, including the ongoing efforts to find Ellabeth’s remains. Don’t miss our latest cold case investigation, “Bringing Ellabeth Home.”