'Vanished in Vermillion' recounts infamous South Dakota cold case, investigators' blunders
Teenagers' disappearance in 1971 haunted friends and family for decades until their vehicle was found in a creek in 2013
Teenagers Cheryl “Sherri” Miller and Pam Jackson were on their way to a party at a gravel pit in Union County when their car went off the road and into a creek in 1971.
But nobody knew that at the time, and their disappearance haunted family members and classmates and stumped law enforcement for years.
The answers wouldn’t be known until 2013, when a man found the vehicle in the creek, leading to national coverage about the cold case.
But why did it take so long to find the car? Why was a man wrongfully accused of killing the two girls almost 10 years before the car was found? Why did authorities assume the pair ran away? Why wasn’t more done to find them?
Those answers and more are unpacked in the thorough 380-page book “Vanished in Vermillion” by Lou Raguse, a television reporter for KARE 11 in the Twin Cities who spent three years as a cops and courts reporter for KELO-TV in Sioux Falls in the mid-2000s. Raguse interviewed nearly 100 people and was able to gain access to law enforcement reports and records from the Department of Criminal Investigation, the Vermillion Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office to tell a story of the case that had never been told.
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