By Lou Raguse
Officers with the Sioux FallsÂ police department sorted through 800 tons of trash at the Sioux Falls landfill and eventually tagged 400 pieces of evidence in this case.
About a dozen ofÂ the officersÂ testified in the trial, so for those them, this verdict means a lot.
When the Darlene VanderGiesen missing-person case turned into a murder investigation, lead investigator Det. Troy Duncan knew it would be different than most cases.
“There were a lot of people who did a fantastic amount of work,” Duncan says.
Detectives first suspected Daphne Wright during a police interview where Wright kept changing her story. That led them to Wright’s home, where there was evidence VanderGiesen had been dismembered.
When Det. Andrea Kelly looked in Wright’s trash and found a bottle of chainsaw oil and a receipt for an electric chainsaw, the pieces really started to come together.
“They had been coming together prior,” Kelly says.Â “But yeah, that was a key piece.”
Officers arrested Wright, then found VanderGiesen’s body parts mixed amongst the Sioux Falls trash and across the border in a Minnesota ditch. They put the case in the prosecutor’s hands. And today the jury delivered the verdict they looked forward to for a year.
“Extremely satisfying,” Duncan says.
But the most satisfying part for Duncan is that the Sioux Falls police department was able to give closure to the victim’s parents.
“I guess what I told them was, we’re not able to bring Darlene VanderGiesen back. But the next best thing we in law enforcement could do for them is work diligently to try to make sure the person who murdered their daughter was held accountable for it,” Duncan says.
Duncan says he and other officers are going closely watch the case through the penalty phase. But he personally would be happy with any decision the jury makes, whether that’s life in prison or the death penalty.
(( Source:Â KELOLAND TV ))