Catherine Tornquist

Matthew Tornquist charged with murder, theft in connection with disappearance of Catherine Tornquist

HOT SPRINGS – A Fall River County Grand Jury handed down a three-count indictment on July 12, including first-degree murder, against Matthew Charles Tornquist, 26, in connection with the disappearance of his mother, Catherine Tornquist, last October.

The grand jury heard testimony from 14 witnesses before returning the indictment. Matthew Tornquist was indicted on first-degree murder, with an alternative count of second-degree murder, as well as a single count of grand theft.

Matt Brown, the deputy states’ attorney for Custer County was appointed to handle the case as a Special Assistant Attorney General, by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, who also attended the grand jury proceedings.

Brown confirmed that Matthew Tornquist is the son of Catherine Tornquist. Matthew Tornquist has been in federal custody in Rapid City on non-related charges since earlier this spring.

“I don’t know if Mr. Tornquist has been served with this arrest warrant as of yet,” Brown said via phone interview Friday morning. “There were some questions, with his being in federal custody, over how the process will work from a procedure standpoint.”

No further court date has been set at this time.

The indictment charges that on or about Oct. 4, 2011, Matthew Tornquist committed first-degree murder, or premeditated murder, of Catherine Tornquist. Catherine Tornquist was reported missing the first week in October last year. Despite several concerted efforts, her presumed remains have not been found as of yet.

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First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence, or possibly the death penalty, in addition to a $50,000 fine.

The alternative count of second-degree carries a mandatory life sentence and a $50,000 fine.

The grand theft charge stems from the disappearance of a large amount of cash that Catherine Tornquist was believed to have in her possession at the time of her disappearance. Earlier reports stated that she had intended to purchase a camper in Rapid City with the money, but failed to arrive and has never been seen since.

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