- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - It’s a coincidence that arrests have been made in two cold case killings in the Sioux Falls area in less than two weeks, investigators said.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office last month arrested a Florida man in the 1989 killing of Kimberly Eidsness, who was found shot to death in her home. Sioux Falls police a short time later arrested a homeless woman in the 2011 slaying of Daniel Eastman, a homeless man found beaten and stabbed in a downtown alley.

The arrests were the result of two departments independently deciding to apply new perspective and technology to old unsolved cases, investigators told the Argus Leader newspaper (https://argusne.ws/1Eg8gN8 ).

“A lot of times we have a primary person of interest, but you have to be able to prove your case to a jury,” Sioux Falls Police Capt. Blaine Larsen said. “It’s about having a strong enough case.”

In the Eastman killing, Sioux Falls Police detectives Pat Mertes and Mike Webb were given permission in March to dig back into the case. With the relationships Mertes built working the streets and the investigative work by Webb, the investigators were able to get a witness to come forward, Larsen said.

“I don’t think we ever thought we would be done,” Larsen said. “We knew we were going to continue to investigate.”

The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office three years ago decided to reopen the Eidsness case. Improved technology enabled investigators to solve previously unanswered questions, Capt. Paul Niedringhaus said.

“I think there’s satisfaction that we’ve finally come to a resolution, not only for law enforcement, but for Kimberly Eidsness, who doesn’t have a voice anymore,” he said.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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