Death is classified as "criminal"
Published: Thursday, January 9th, 2014
After months of avoiding labeling the death of Meshell Will of Custer as anything other than “suspicious,” law enforcement officials have now stated Will’s death is being treated as a criminal investigation.
Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom stopped short of saying Will was murdered, but did said the suspicious death is being treated criminally and that more information into the matter of how Will died should be available within a few weeks after results from some evidence testing being done at the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) forensics lab in Pierre are received.
“We have some evidence being processsed and we are doing some forensics in some other areas,” Thom said. “We are waiting for test results to come back and following up on other leads we have.”
Will’s decomposing body was found just off Iron Mountain Road by a tourist who was taking pictures in the area. The body was found near mile post 54, in a wooded area between the higher and lower part of the road near one of the road’s famous “pigtail” bridges. Will, 38, was last heard from Aug. 24, when she texted her sister to tell her she was going to Keystone. She was reported missing three days later.
Thom said the newest evidence seized was sent to the DCI lab last week and results from the tests should be available within a few weeks.
“Once we get that done, it will give us a clear direction,” he said.
Although the investigation is being treated as criminal, Thom declined to say whether or not his department or DCI has any suspects in the case.
“We have some strong leads we’re following, but to identify someone publicly would be premature,” he said.
Investigators encourage anyone who many have seen Will around the time she disappeared or have any other information on the case to call 394-6115, 394-4134 or the Custer County Sheriff’s Department at 673-8146. Anonymous tips may also be sent by texting “RCPD” and then the information to 847411.
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