A South Dakota prison inmate who escaped from a job site earlier this month has been arrested in New Mexico on multiple charges, including second-degree murder in a killing in Rapid City, according to his detention information.
Andrew Eastman, 28, is a suspect in the killing of Larry Mintzlaff, 64, a former school teacher who was discovered dead at home in Rapid City on Tuesday, city police said in a release today.
Mintzlaff, a former Rapid City school district teacher, was found to have died of blunt force trauma. Investigators believe he died the week before his body was found.
Eastman was arrested Saturday afternoon at a parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M., by officers of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Marshals Service said.
He had been driving a blue 2007 Ford Focus that belonged to Mintzlaff, Rapid City police said. Investigators earlier reported the car missing from the victim’s residence.
The fugitive task force that arrested Eastman had been “looking out for the vehicle” and knew he was a suspect in a homicide, said Ben Segotta, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in New Mexico.
South Dakota investigators believed Eastman had fled the state and was hiding out in Albuquerque, Segotta said. He declined to comment on what ties Eastman had in Albuquerque, citing the ongoing homicide investigation.
Eastman is detained at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center on charges of second-degree murder, fugitive arrest, escape from custody/police and unlawful taking of motor vehicle, according to the detention center.
The Rapid City Police Department said the police and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office investigation into Mintzlaff’s death continues. It said law enforcement will work with the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine a timeline for Eastman’s extradition and his potential charges in the case.
The South Dakota Department of Corrections placed Eastman on escape status on June 2 after he left an inmate job site at the Rapid City landfill. Authorities said he fled that morning in a pickup owned by the city government.
The white 2002 Dodge pickup was later found abandoned along Elk Street, a short walk from Mintzlaff’s house in the 3300 block of Wisconsin Avenue, police said.
Eastman is scheduled for an arraignment in Albuquerque on Monday, according to the detention center.
He is serving sentences in South Dakota for drug offenses out of Hughes County and grand theft out of Pennington County, the Department of Corrections said.
Mintzlaff’s killing is the fifth homicide in Rapid City this year, following three fatal stabbings in January and one in March.