SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jerry A. Mikkelson’s body was found on Oct. 8, 1987, in Jackson County, Colorado, but he wasn’t identified for more than 30 years.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s office said this week Mikkelson, of Sioux Falls, was identified through genetic DNA testing and a titanium rod used in surgery for a broken femur.
The investigation also concluded Mikkelson, 24, was likely murdered in Wyoming and brought to Colorado where he was left about 15 miles north of Walden near a forest service road. No information has been released on how Mikkelson was killed.
Mikkelson graduated from Washington High School in 1981, according to the school’s yearbook. By Aug. 8, 1983, Mikkelson left Sioux Falls. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Mikkelson willingly left the city, but a relative did report him missing at some point.
Sam Clemens, the public information officer for the Sioux Falls Police Department said “a relative reported he was missing. The officer informed (the relative) since Jerry was an adult there was nothing police could do. No police report was made, just the info that (relative) left. At that point, there was no indication anything was wrong or anything criminal occurred, so there was no police investigation.”
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had Mikkelson listed on its unsolved or cold case website for years. The case information described him as a 25-year-old white male with brown hair and brown eyes. The description includes a height of 5’9 and weight of 145 pounds with a mustache and goatee. An image of the then-unknown man was also shared on the BCI website.
Matt Shuler, the editor of the Jackson County Star newspaper, was a high school student in the area when Mikkelson’s body was found 36 years ago.
Shuler said the BCI made a poster of the unidentified man. “I do remember seeing the poster,” he said. “They had a poster up for quite a few years in the sheriff’s office.”
Another local resident said when the body was found in 1987, “it was a pretty big deal at the time.”
Jackson County and Walden are rural areas with sage brush, trees and grassland. The Jackson County website touts the hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Walden is also in the North Park region of Colorado, which is a description of the terrain in the region.
Area residents are talking about the case this week, Shuler and the other local resident said.
“I think people are really interested in it,” Shuler said. The family, in particular, would want to know their brother was found and how he died. “If it was a relative of yours, you’d want to know…,” Shuler said.
Mikkelson would be one of at least two Sioux Falls men to be murdered in Wyoming in the 1980s. Jon Rice, 26, was found dead in his condominium on May 12, 1984, in Jackson, Wyoming. Rice was shot, execution style, including once in the back of the head, multiple media reports said
Any tip about Mikkelson or his murder can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or via a message on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 970-875-7069.