Rapid City Journal from Rapid City, South Dakota on June 4, 1995 · 6
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Rapid City Journal from Rapid City, South Dakota · 6

Rapid City, South Dakota
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 4, 1995
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A6 Local Rapid City Journal Sunday, June 4, 1995 y lift -.,: h'J if v'V .7 j'sM"' - 'IS iH... Ell l J I M'l f J wi , - I 1 ' r" " Kueter: Views of police, friends differ widely Journal photo by Suva McEnrot Nancy Kueter holds a photograph of her family, including her late husband, Tom, who died mysteriously. Continued from page A1 Marcotte never made it home. Kueter denied giving Marcotte a ride home that night, and no witnesses placed Marcotte in Tom Kueter's car. Nancy Kueter believes Riddle may have been mistaken about what Marcotte said in the phone call. But police were immediately suspicious about what they called "the missing three hours" the time between 12:30 a.m., when Marcotte left work, and 3:30 a.m., when Tom Kueter returned home. Kueter played Softball Oat Thursday night, then dropped a friend home about 11 p.m. When he returned home at 3:30 a.m. he told Nancy his car had broken down behind the Sooper Dooper on East St. Patrick Street He said he worked on the carburetor, then drove home. However, no witnesses reported seeing the car. And Pennington County Chief Deputy Sheriff De Glassgow, who also investigated the case, said three witnesses told police they would have seen the car if it had been there. Police also suspect Kueter's laundry motives. When Kueter returned home at 3:30 a.m. he washed and soaked his shirt Nancy Kueter said Tom wanted to wash out dirt and grease from fixing his car. Two days later, on Sunday, Kueter washed his shoes and shoelaces. Nancy Kueter says Tom often did mat Then there was the suicide itself. Kueter and Pat Gleason went to the police station Saturday morning to report Marcotte missing. (See the related story on page A7.) When police discovered that Kueter had not returned home until 3:30 a.m. Friday, they began what turned out to be three days of on-and-off questioning. They even impounded Kueter's car to look for evidence. On Tuesday morning, four days after Marcotte disappeared, two co-workers found Kueter in the yard at Forest Products Distributors, another wood processing plant on Highway 79. He was hying under his forklift, with his head under one of the large front wheels. The forklift's parking brake was inoperable, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration later fined Forest Products $1,750 for that and other safety infractions. The forklift was on a slight incline, but Jacob said the machine would have rolled too slowly to accidentally crush Kueter, who was an agile man and an expert operator. Nor were there drag marks or other evidence of foul play. Police almost immediately concluded that Kueter lay down and let the forklift roll over him. Thafs what they told Nancy Kueter two hours later. Investigators later recreated that scenario on videotape, using 2x4s to simulate a body. The videotape shows the forklift would run ever lumber. Bode and Kolbach say that doesn't prove it would run over a man. Kolbach wrote in a report, "Is it truly, reasonably within the realm of believ-ability that anyone under any circumstances would choose this type of excruciating death?" . Jacob says bizarre, painful suicides are unusual but not unheard of. Investigators also say Tom Kueter's personality made him a suspect, a point that Nancy Kueter and her attorney dispute. Craig Tieszen said investigators learned from interviews with Kueter's co-workers that Tom Kueter had a darker side. "Tom didn't play well with others," he said. "He was just angry." And at 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, Tieszen said, Kueter could be physically intimidating. Riddle and Gleason both told the Journal last year they thought Kueter was acting suspiciously after Marcotte disappeared. Kueter also had a record. He had been convicted of burglary when he was a teen-ager, and he was once convicted of simple assault. He also had abused alcohol and drugs. Nancy said Tom was never violent with her, except that he "pushed" her a few times in his drinking days. She said that in the four years before his death, Tom didn't use drugs and almost never used alcohol. She said he hadn't pushed her or done anything else remotely violent during that period. Police found no trace of alcohol or drugs in the autopsy. Kolbach interviewed nearly 20 of Tom Kueter's friends and relatives. They almost unanimously described him as a quiet, thoughtful family man a nice guy, a positive person and a good friend. A former supervisor who described him as "moody" also said, 'Tom did not really seem like the kind of person who could take someone's life." A foster parent who took care of Nancy and who had known the couple since they were kids said, "I can tell you right now there is no way, with God as my witness, that Tom would ever take his own life." Part of the police theory is that Tom Kueter may have been having an affair with Marcotte or wanted to. Kueter's friends and relatives said he didn't stray. "He was like major in love with Nancy," a neighbor said. Co-workers at Forest Products said Kueter seemed "normal" the Tuesday morning he died. Bode points out there was no suicide note and no physical evidence linking Kueter and Marcotte. Bode agrees he can't prove Tom Kueter's death was an accident or a murder, but he says authorities can't really prove Kueter killed himself, either. He says Wassau should pay Nancy Kueter workers' compensation death benefits. Meanwhile, Tina Marcotte remains missing. Chief Deputy Glassgow says the case is open, and he says investigators would welcome any tips that could lead to her whereabouts NNNNSN 'SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ABOUREZK LAW OFFICES f BMed.RcT Announces gj 71 Charles Street Deadwood 1 3 20 N. Avenue, Spearflsh MICHAEL SCARMON, &j & Attorney at Law is pleased to announce the association of HasJoined Abourezk Law offices, pg ssj Dr. Sonja "Sunnle" Wyckoff as an Associate Attorney tfA Mr. Scarrnon has a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Board Certified In Obstetrics and Gynecology South Dakota School of Law. Mr. Scarmon is a former law clerk for the yA First Judicial Circuit of South Dakota. Dr. Wyckoff will be seeing patients In Spearflsh and Deadwood Appointments can be made by calling j' Rushmore Building w Deadwood 578-2364 or Spearflsh 642-5648 20H0 West Main Street Phone:(605)342-0097 V, Rapid City, SD57702 lllllaiBlBlBMBBBBaHaBBBBBBMBMBHBaBaBHBMBHBBBiBMBaBlMBBBBBBaaflBHBBlISflBlsl l,.... V N N s , Preetime. 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