September 23 news

WORTHINGTON – Testimony for the state should conclude early this week in the retrial of Josue Fraga, who is accused of murdering his 2-year-old niece Samantha in 2008. Fraga was convicted of Samantha’s death in 2009, but evidence that came to light afterward allowed him to apply for a relief of that conviction.

Fraga said after his first conviction that he was innocent, and would never have hurt a child. Since that conviction, his only daughter has testified that her father had been raping her for years and killed Samantha the night she first fought back. Fraga’s defense this time revolves around his son, Josue David, who he is now trying to blame for Samantha’s death.

According to the forensic autopsy, Samantha died of head trauma. She also had a ruptured stomach at the time of her death, and a prolapsed rectum that came from an apparent molestation.

More than 30 witnesses testified last week in the state’s prosecution, including law enforcement, social services, forensic scientists and family members.

Samantha’s father, Samuel, is expected to testify today. According to documents filed through the state of Texas, Samuel claims Fraga sexually abused him as a teenager.

More than 30 people testified in the first week of the trial, with at least nine more people scheduled to take the stand before the state rests its case. That should come early next week, then the defense will get a chance to present their witnesses to the jury. After final summations, the case will go to the jury for deliberations and a verdict for each of the five charges Fraga faces.

JACKSON — According to the Minnesota State Patrol, two women were killed in a crash Friday morning on U.S. 71 at 715th Street who were mother and daughter. The report states the driver of the car was 64-year-old Norma Kanuch, of Jackson, who was driving. Her 85-year-old mother, Donna Kanuch was a passenger.

The Kanuches were travelling eastbound on 715th Street (Jackson County 4), when they collided in the intersection with a northbound International semi with trailer driven by Dwayne Meyer, 56, of Spencer, Iowa. Meyer sustained serious injuries in the crash.

Assisting at the scene were the Jackson Fire & Rescue and the Sanford Ambulance.

SIOUX FALLS, SD - A 27 year-old Sioux Falls man died Saturday in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 29 in Sioux Falls along I-29 just south of W. 12th Street around 10:15 a.m.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol says 27 year-old Jeremy Johnson, of Sioux Falls, was driving a 1986 Ford Crown Victoria northbound on Interstate 29. Johnson lost control of his vehicle, entered the median and then proceeded to slide sideways before entering the southbound driving lanes of I-29.

After entering the southbound lanes of I-29, his vehicle was struck on the passenger side by a 2012 Buick Enclave in the middle lane. Upon impact the Crown Victoria was split in half, the driver was ejected from his seat and he sustained fatal injuries. The driver was not wearing a seat-belt. Both halves of the vehicle caught on fire. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue extinguished the flames.

The driver and passenger in the Enclave, Loren and Rebecca Converse, both 72 years-old from Arlington, sustained minor injuries; they were wearing seat-belts. They were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating. Sioux Falls Police Dept., Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and the South Dakota Department of Transportation assisted.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa—The Iowa Economic Development Authority Friday approved $210,000 in assistance and tax benefits to assist Rembrandt Enterprises in a proposed expansion and relocation of its headquarters to downtown Spirit Lake. The $3.2 million dollar project would create 22 jobs, 14 of which have incentives attached. Another 40 jobs, that also have incentives attached, would be retained.

Rembrandt Enterprises provides ingredients to leading pet food manufacturers, agronomy solutions to farmers and customized egg products for the food ingredient industry.

The company is proposing to relocate its headquarters into the former Northwest Bank building at the corner of Hill Avenue and Lake Street in uptown Spirit Lake. The company has been working with city officials on several logistical issues, including parking.

SHELDON, Iowa — A large string of mailbox vandalism reports has northwest Iowa law enforcement agencies trying to find answers.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Saturday, they investigated 26 reports of vandalism to mailboxes. The reports came from the rural northeast area of Sioux County, near Sheldon. Authorities say the crimes likely occurred late in the evening on Friday or early on Saturday.

The sheriff’s office believes the mailboxes were damaged when they were struck with some type of blunt instrument. Other mailboxes were pushed over or forcibly removed from their posts and thrown onto the roadway.

Several similar mailbox vandalism cases are being investigated in Lyon and O’Brien Counties.
Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office. If you wish to remain anonymous you may use the Text-a-tip program. Find directions at

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man escaped injury in a rollover accident after he veered for deer Friday.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:35 a.m. Friday, 28-year-old Jacob W. Kwikkel of Rock Rapids was eastbound on Hark Boulevard, just east of Harding Avenue, or about a half a mile north of Rock Rapids. The report says Kwikkel swerved to avoid hitting deer on the roadway. His car then entered the ditch, rolling one time.

Kwikkel’s 2003 Ford Focus received about $7500 in damages. There were no injuries.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety, among other law enforcement agencies urge motorists not to veer for deer — because if you try to swerve, you could end up in the ditch or in oncoming traffic. They advise just to brake firmly and hope for the best.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - The Lyon County Sheriff's Office investigated reports of underage drinking and illegal drug use at the West Lyon High School on Friday. Deputies identified Ricardo Rasgado-Martinez and two juvenile males as the persons involved. One juvenile male was issued a juvenile referral for carrying weapons and also underage possession of alcohol. The other juvenile was issued a juvenile referral for underage possession of alcohol. Arrest warrants were issued for Ricardo Rasgado-Martinez, age 20, of Sioux Falls, SD on Sunday, for carrying weapons in a weapons free zone and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, all serious misdemeanors. If you have any information on Rasgado-Martinez"s whereabouts, you are asked to contact the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.


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