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Rapid City police believe suspect targeted 82-year-old homicide victim
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Rapid City police believe suspect targeted 82-year-old homicide victim

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Snow falls on Reta McGovern's home on the 800 block of Flormann Street on Thursday in Rapid City.

The 82-year-old woman found dead in her house last week was likely killed by someone who targeted her, according to the Rapid City Police Department.

“We have reason to believe the suspect had a specific interest in victimizing (Reta) McGovern,” said police spokesman Brendyn Medina. “Detailing why, however, would adversely affect the investigation.”

A relative who frequently checks in on McGovern found her with a laceration to her throat on Wednesday afternoon at 821 Flormann Street, where she lived alone. 

An autopsy determined McGovern was killed and police are now looking for the suspect. They believe she was killed Wednesday morning.

The Journal asked about McGovern’s cause of death, the circumstances and motive of the killing, and whether there were signs of other crimes. Medina said this information was either still being investigated or would harm the investigation if it was released now.

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“We are still at a point where we must be purposefully vague about the details of the investigation/case so far,” he said. “We are working a variety of different leads in the case, however, we are not in position to be able to go into detail about what we know about the suspect and motive.”

McGovern is the first Rapid City homicide victim of 2021.

The police department is asking the public to review surveillance footage for anyone on foot in neighborhoods between West Boulevard and 5th Street between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 10.

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Anyone with any information or video evidence that might help police should contact Detective Barry Young at 605-394-4134. An anonymous tip can also be sent by texting the letters ‘RCPD’ and the information to 847411.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation are also helping with the investigation. ​​

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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