SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A woman’s family may be getting closer to justice.
As KELOLAND News reported in its MMIP coverage, 57-year-old Maria Makes Him First was found dead in Pine Ridge in July of 2022.
The family of Maria Makes Him First invited a KELOLAND News crew to the Oglala Cemetery where she was laid to rest last July.
At the time, her loved ones were searching for answers and justice.
“I hope the person or persons are caught and brought to justice because what happened behind me…she’s laying there. We didn’t even have to be here this day,” Maria’s brother William Makes Him First Sr. said in July 2022.
Now, 18-year-old Jonathan Eagle Elk is charged with second degree murder in her death.
Neither William nor his daughter Valentina has ever heard of the suspect.
“When I heard that name, honestly, it never clicked. I don’t know anyone by that name,” Maria’s niece Valentina Makes Him First said.
The family is grateful to see Maria’s case moving forward.
“My aunt’s going to get justice. Someone’s going to go to jail for thinking they could play God and take someone’s life. You can’t do that,” Valentina said.
Eagle Elk has pleaded not guilty.
As the case plays out in court, William says the family is still healing from their loss.
“It is serious stuff. It has affected a lot of us. It has affected me. I have hard days and easy days. I think about my sister,” William said.
Eagle Elk is also charged with second degree murder in the death of 51-year-old Louis Swift Bird in June of last year.
He’s pleaded not guilty.