Investigators say they remain committed to case
BENSON -- Inquiries for information about the investigation into the shooting death of Nichole Riley Lemcke inevitably receive the same result. "All I can say is it's an active investigation,'' said Robin Finke, Swift County attorney. While it is...
BENSON -- Inquiries for information about the investigation into the shooting death of Nichole Riley Lemcke inevitably receive the same result.
"All I can say is it's an active investigation,'' said Robin Finke, Swift County attorney.
While it is active, the attorney and Swift County Sheriff Scott Mattison say they cannot discuss publicly any of the details involving the incident. Nor can they speak about any new facts or evidence that may have been turned up as a result of the investigation.
"No one who has the best interests of this investigation in mind should be openly discussing confidential details of this investigation,'' said Sheriff Mattison in a written response to questions from the Tribune. "This is an active death investigation -- it remains an open case.''
He said his office and the Appleton Police Department continue to investigate the matter, and that the "full resources'' of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Attorney General's office "remain committed to the eventual resolution of this case.''
"All new leads and all new information are likewise being investigated,'' he added.
The sheriff said investigators do not believe that there is an unknown suspect in the community, but he said "there are as yet unanswered questions regarding the circumstances which led to Nichole's death.
"However, there may also be persons as yet unknown to us who possess information which is valuable to this investigation. Those persons also need to come forward with what they know.''
In his response to the Tribune, Mattison also indicates that the investigation has been hampered by a lack of cooperation from some unidentified parties.
"Unfortunately, there are persons close to this investigation -- persons known to us -- who have been less than forthcoming and less than fully cooperative with the complete disclosure of information -- less than fully cooperative with this investigation.
"When a death is claimed to be accidental, such lack of cooperation is very unusual,'' he said. "Until those persons having additional knowledge surrounding the circumstances of Nichole's death fully cooperate with this investigation, this will remain an active investigation of her death.''
The responsibility for the investigation is shared by the Swift County Sheriff's Department and County Attorney, according to Finke. Nonetheless, other agencies remain active in it.
Mattison said that the details of the case have been reviewed by people he described as expert homicide investigators at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the St. Paul Police Department and the Minneapolis Police Department.
He also noted that the Minnesota Attorney General's office had reviewed the case and that the available evidence had been presented to a grand jury last year.
"I cannot imagine the pain of losing a loved one under accidental or intentional circumstances and then having that pain compounded by a lack of cooperation from persons who need to be interviewed by us,'' said Mattison. "I also cannot imagine withholding information that would bring comfort to the family of a loved one who has died -- that would be a terrible burden to bear.''
The sheriff asks that anyone who may have information that could aid the investigation call him at 320-289-2356 or 843-3133 or 264-5972 or write to him at PO Box 266 Benson, MN 56215 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
"Nichole, Nichole's family and our citizens deserve nothing less than the truth,'' he said.
Questions to Andrew Lemcke and a request for his comments on the situation were forwarded to him in California by his attorney, Brian Wotjalewicz of Appleton. Lemcke did not respond.