Man accused in 2013 death of South Dakota woman

July 17, 2021 GMT

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man is accused in the death of Custer woman, whose decomposed body was found in the Black Hills in 2013.

The Rapid City Journal reports Richard Melvin Schmitz, 53, was arrested at his home near Hill City without incident Friday morning.

Schmitz will make his initial court appearance Monday on a second-degree murder charge.

Meshell Will, 38, was last seen alive in Keystone on Aug. 24, 2013. Originally from Wisconsin, she had been in Custer for about six months, authorities said.

Someone taking photos along Iron Mountain Road near Mount Rushmore discovered the body about a week after she went missing.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Schmitz has a been person of interest in the case for the past eight years.

Authorities declined to say what changed to allow investigators to take Schmitz from a person of interest to a murder suspect. The case has been turned over to the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s office where the files have been sealed.