Authorities seek DNA link to human remains in S.D.

Authorities are investigating whether a Clarkfield woman is the mother of two fetuses whose remains were found in a Deuel County, S.D., shelterbelt in November, court documents said. A search warrant filed in Yellow Medicine County District Court on Monday said investigators sought DNA samples from the woman, age 34. The woman being investigated was also involved in a shooting incident in Clarkfield last week. No charges have yet been filed in the shooting incident.

Human remains were reported in a grove in rural Deuel County on Nov. 2. Forensic analysis found the remains were that of two term fetuses, said an affidavit supporting the search warrant. The case is being investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Documents filed in Yellow Medicine County District Court on Monday said a search warrant was executed at a Clarkfield residence on Aug. 13. The documents said investigators were looking for possible evidence establishing a Clarkfield woman as the mother of the fetuses. That evidence included DNA from swabs of the woman’s cheek, as well as any photos or digital images showing the woman in a state of pregnancy, or wearing a South Dakota State University shirt found at the scene where the remains were. The affidavit said investigators were also looking for smart phones, digital cameras, computers, and computer log files from the woman’s home that might provide evidence.

The affidavit said several people told DCI agents the woman had appeared pregnant at two different times between 2008 and 2011, but never had a baby afterward.

The search of the residence in Clarkfield was executed on the same day that DCI agents struggled with the woman being investigated. During an interview, the woman produced a handgun and pointed the gun at herself, the BCA said. The gun went off after an officer and the woman struggled, but no one was injured.