Cold case leads to murder charges against Sioux Falls man

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been nearly 50 years since the murder of a Minnesota woman, but investigators think they have finally solved the cold case.

79-year-old Algene Vossen of Sioux Falls was taken into custody Thursday for the killing of Mabel Herman back in 1974 in Willmar, Minnesota.

The case had gone cold, until recently. Thanks to new technology, investigators say they were able to find her killer and it led them straight to Sioux Falls.

Back in 1974, when police were doing a well-being check, they found 74-year-old Mable Herman dead from multiple stab wounds.

Algene Vossen, who was living in Willmar at the time, immediately became one of their suspects.

“From reading through the reports I believe he became a suspect just because he had been found to be lurking in the area and some other areas in Willmar here and some other conduct that made police suspicious that he had been approaching people’s homes and working on some ruses to get in that type of thing,” Jim Felt, the Willmar Chief of Police, said.

Police questioned Vossen several times, but say there was never enough evidence to charge him with the killing.

But this past June, Willmar Police set up a temporary cold case review team that began digging into the murder of Mable Herman.

“The evidence had carefully been preserved ever since 1974 and was still on hand here in the office. Officers took that evidence out and examined it in detail,” Chief Felt said.

Traces of DNA found on evidence in the case were sent to a crime lab for analysis.

“Mr. Vossen’s DNA was not in the system, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said if we were able to obtain that, they would do a comparison,” Chief Felt said.

So, Willmar police reached out to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

“In the beginning of July, they went to his home and retrieved a sample with a mouth swab and that was sent into the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis and about two weeks after that it came back that it was definitive match with Mr. Vossen,” Chief Felt said.

Vossen, who is charged with 2nd degree murder, made his first court appearance Friday in Minnehaha County.

He’s being held on $50,000 bond and is awaiting extradition back to Minnesota.

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