SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls man accused in a cold case murder investigation is back in Minnesota awaiting trial.
Police took 79-year-old Algene Vossen into custody back in July at his Sioux Falls home. He was held at the Minnehaha County jail until he was recently extradited back to Minnesota.
This case goes back almost 50 years to when Mabel Herman was found dead inside her home back in 1974.
It was a brutal crime scene. Herman was stabbed 38 times according to police reports.
Algene Vossen, who was living in Willmar at the time, immediately became a suspect.
“This was a pretty big case at the time. Police were certain Vossen was it, but they probably didn’t have enough to stick it with him at the time,” West Central Tribune reporter Mark Wasson said.
Wasson says there were reports Vossen had been lurking in the area that night.
Police questioned Vossen several times, but he was never charged.
“Vossen moved to Iowa shortly after this and he has a really long extensive criminal history involving drunk and disorderly conducts, fighting cops, window peaking. He was convicted of harassing a wife of a Polk County administrator in the 70s after this,” Wasson said.
This past June, Willmar Police set up a cold case unit that began digging into the murder.
Authorities say evidence in the case had been carefully preserved ever since 1974 and was still on hand at the police station.
With new technologies, traces of DNA found on the evidence were sent to a crime lab to run a new analysis.
“They found Vossen’s DNA matched a sweater that Mae Herman was wearing that night and that’s how they finally officially connected him to it,” Wasson said.
Wasson says following Vossen’s arrest this past summer, the community was shocked, but relieved.
“People are happy. I spoke with one of the police officers who was with the force at the time, who actually recently passed away, but was able to see Vossen be arrested for this. I spoke with Mae Herman’s grandson about the case and people are just happy that somebody might be facing justice for this brutal night in 1974,” Wasson said.
Vossen is charged with 2nd degree murder with intent, but not premeditated.
Vossen has a pretrial hearing scheduled in Willmar, Minnesota, for November 24.