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Murder charges filed in death of Lincoln County woman

April 14, 2022 GMT

CANTON, S.D. (AP) — A man who has been in custody since a 20-year-old mother was found dead last month in Lincoln County has now been charged with murder and manslaughter.

Randi Gerlach was found dead at a residence south of Sioux Falls on March 1 and sheriff’s officials said the death appeared to be suspicious.

Multiple agencies, including the South Dakota Department of Investigation, were called in to investigate the death and to assist in the search for a person of interest, identified as 22-year-old Jackson Phillips, according to the sheriff’s office.

He was taken into custody hours later in the Mitchell area following a traffic stop and was transported to the Minnehaha County Jail and booked on initial charges of violating a no contact order in Lincoln County.

Phillips on Wednesday was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault in Gerlach’s death, the Argus Leader reported.

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Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said Gerlach, who has a 2-year-old son, and Phillips were in a “domestic relationship.”

Wollman said Phillips is being held on a $50,000 bond. He said it took several weeks for charges to be filed because pending autopsy results.

The defendant’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.