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Dead man identified as 22-year-old SDSU student

DE SMET -- The SDSU student whose body was discovered east of De Smet Saturday afternoon apparently froze to death, according to Kingsbury County Sheriff Kevin Scotting.

Thomas Bjerke, 22, of Bradley, S.D., was identified as the dead man, Scotting said Monday afternoon.

"It was 4 below and he had been riding on the frame for an hour," Scotting said.

An autopsy was slated for Monday in Sioux Falls, he said. Scotting said there were no signs of injury or wounds and foul play is not suspected.

Bjerke's body was found near railroad tracks east of De Smet at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff.

A man who was walking in the area looking for a lost dog spotted the body and then a train crew also saw it, Scotting said.

While there was no ID on the body, the sheriff said he knew the train had come from Brookings. He contacted the Brookings Police Department, who told him there was a report of a missing man.

"It fit him to a 'T,'" Scotting said.