Who killed Vicki Eagleman?
That's a question that's been left unanswered on the Lower Brule Lakota Indian Reservation for more than 13 years.
The reservation is a rural and tight-knit community in South Dakota with 1,300 residents. In 2006, Eagleman, a recently-divorced 33-year-old mother of five, had just moved back to the reservation to live with her parents while she looked for a new job.
Her mom, June Left Hand, said her daughter had been a victim of domestic violence. Eagleman had been in turbulent relationships most of her life, including the relationship with her newest boyfriend, Left Hand said.
On a hot July day, Eagleman told her mom that she was going swimming with a group of friends. It would be the last time she was ever seen alive.
Eagleman's body was later found in a remote area on the reservation, according to the FBI; investigators said the cause of death was likely blunt force trauma.
Now the Vault Studios podcast “True Crime Chronicles” is looking back at Eagleman's murder and sharing the story of a relentless mother and the reporter who has never forgotten her case. The podcast will release an episode on Monday focused on the Eagleman case.
You can download and subscribe to True Crime Chronicles on any podcast platform, including Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and Apple Podcasts. You'll also be able to listen to Monday's episode in the player below after it is released.
The community rallied to support Eagleman's family after her death.
"People lined up all the way about a block away, coming in one-by-one, telling me that they were sorry," Left Hand said. "A few of them said they were going to find out who did that and they were going to get even for me."
But investigators didn't identify a suspect. Weeks turned to months without new leads on the case, and Eagleman's family was left unanswered questions.
Then files from the investigation were found outside of the police station.
"Crime-scene photographs ended up being found on a sidewalk in Lower Brule," said KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse, who covered this case when he was working in South Dakota. "How they got there no one really knows. But apparently they were not being cared for enough that they got tossed out on the street literally. And they got picked up and brought back to police.
"That was just one detail that makes you wonder... what the heck is going on here?”