Rumors circulate about weapon, despite denials from authoritiesA weapon supposedly used in a 1981 murder surfaced years ago in Davison County, but tests at the time did not match the gun to one used to kill three members of a rural Mount Vernon family.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
A weapon supposedly used in a 1981 murder surfaced years ago in Davison County, but tests at the time did not match the gun to one used to kill three members of a rural Mount Vernon family.
In 2006, The Daily Republic reported on rumors that the murder weapon had been found in the basement of a Mitchell man who had died. At the time of that report, the .22-caliber rifle was in storage at the Division of Criminal Investigation office in Pierre.
The widespread rumor was that the rifle was used to kill LaDonna Mathis and two of her sons on Sept. 8, 1981. Local law-enforcement officers confirmed in the 2006 Daily Republic report that they had heard the gossip, too.
Davison County Sheriff Dave Miles said at the time that “none of it is true, or we’d know something about it.”
The Daily Republic published a story Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of the murders. After the story published, the newspaper received telephone calls from readers who claimed the murder weapon had been found and said the information should have been included in the story.
In the 2006 report, Miles also said other rifles have been found over the years that were considered as possible murder weapons, but tests on those rifles also were inconclusive. Sara Rabern, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Investigation, told The Daily Republic recently that the DCI is not actively looking into the Mathis case.