Nearly two years after daughter's fatal shooting, grieving parents find their questions unanswered

MONTEVIDEO -- It has been nearly two years since the morning that two Montevideo police officers arrived at Gary and Kim Riley's home on the north end of Montevideo and delivered the news.

MONTEVIDEO -- It has been nearly two years since the morning that two Montevideo police officers arrived at Gary and Kim Riley's home on the north end of Montevideo and delivered the news.

Their 26-year-old daughter Nichole Riley Lemcke had suffered a fatal gunshot wound in her home.

Ever since Sept. 12, 2004, the Rileys have continued to ask questions about what happened. They can get no answers.

The investigation into the shooting in the Appleton home that Nichole shared with her husband, Andrew Lemcke, and her children, Alexandra, Christian and Isabella, is officially "active.''

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office convened a grand jury in April 2005. The grand jury returned with a "no bill" of indictment. Its proceedings are kept secret.


Ever since, continued requests by the Rileys for information have been rejected. They asked for records from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Swift County Sheriff's Department and Appleton Police Department.

A formal, written denial to the Rileys' most recent request for files in the case reached them just weeks ago.

"We're to the point now where we've given up on these guys,'' said Gary Riley.

They haven't given up their quest to find answers to the questions that still haunt them every day of their lives. They are looking into initiating a civil suit to pursue information from investigators and launch their own private investigation.

"It's very frustrating, I can't tell you all of the emotions,'' said Kim Riley. "You go to bed with it. You wake up with it.''

The Rileys woke up to it for the first time with the arrival of the Montevideo police officers on the day of their daughter's death. The couple raced to the Appleton Hospital, arriving at 9:15 a.m., or within three hours of the 6:36 a.m. 911 phone call by Andrew Lemcke reporting the shooting in his home.

Andrew Lemcke, who currently lives in California, did not respond to questions from the Tribune forwarded to him by his attorney, Brian Wojtalewicz of Appleton. Lemcke provided his version of events as a letter to the editor published in the Appleton Press after the shooting.

In the letter, he described the incident as an accidental shooting that occurred in the living room of their home. He said his wife had come into the room brandishing a revolver, fired a shot, and continued to express her fear of a former boyfriend. He said in the letter that he attempted to wrestle the gun from her, they lost their balance, and the two fell on the couch with the gun accidentally discharging.


The bullet went up through her chin and Nichole died at the Appleton Hospital, where her husband had driven her.

The Rileys have lots of questions about the incident. They do not believe their daughter owned a revolver or would have acted as Lemcke described it.

They have asked investigators repeated questions about the types of evidence collected at the scene, what types of potential leads were pursued, and what they have learned.

The Rileys said they have received no answers, while they have done all they could to assist investigators. They've told investigators that they were aware of strife in the relationship between their daughter and Andrew Lemcke.

The couple had married in May of 2002. The Rileys said their daughter came into the marriage as a single mother with two children and thought very highly of Lemcke. Yet they said it was apparent to them that the relationship began to sour quickly after their marriage.

They believe she was on the verge of leaving her husband.

Kim Riley was the only family member called to testify before the grand jury one year ago. The prosecutor who handled the matter for the Attorney General's office left the office just weeks after the grand jury declined to bring an indictment.

The Rileys have attempted to speak to the medical examiner who testified to the grand jury. She has not returned their calls, they said.


They met with Attorney General Michael Hatch after the grand jury returned a no bill of indictment. They said they left the meeting with Hatch all the more frustrated with the inability to get answers to their questions, and to learn what investigators are doing.

Since their daughter's death, the Rileys have been persisting in their efforts to find answers. They have monitored the bankruptcy proceedings that Andrew Lemcke initiated shortly after his wife's death.

They have challenged Lemcke in court over visitation rights to their grandchild in his custody. The Rileys have adopted their daughter's oldest child, who is now 9. Their daughter's second child -- age 3 at the time of his mother's death -- lives with his biological father, who is a police officer in Illinois. The youngest child -- 2 at the time of her mother's death -- remains with Andrew Lemcke.

The Rileys said they've told investigators all they can and have asked countless questions of them without any answer.

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