Gitchie Manitou Murders in 1973
Local

Sioux Falls, SD

#21 Feb 26, 2007
I grew up in Rock Rapids, IA and remember this well because the trials were held there (there was no controversy over where to have the trials, because the murders took place in Iowa,). The park still exists although by walk-in only...no vehicles allowed. At some point in the 70's one of the Fryer brothers escaped and was recaptured.
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#22 Feb 27, 2007
I recently found a dealer that specialized in True Detective magazines and within days I bought a copy from 1973 that had a 8-page spread with photos about this case. It was written before the trial so I have yet to determine if the brothers just pled guilty, thus no jury trial and no testimony from the defendants. The author stated that the girl concerned was driven home and told not to ever say anything or they would return and kill her and her family.(she is very lucky although I apologize if she ever reads this - remember the author of "Lucky"? when she was raped the cops told her she was lucky, the man's previous victim did not live and she fought inner demons for many years).

Anyway, the girls father, according to the story, sat on his porch with a shotgun night after night fearing their return, but the cops eventually found that she was present at the crime and made contact, which helped lead them to the Fryer brothers.

She stated that the killers just started shooting the guys, maybe it was for the sole purpose of rape, the article infers that it was sudden. One of the brothers was on work release and incacerated for stealing hub caps, this also helped the sheriff, when this man did not check back in for the night, he was suspect.

Local from Sioux Falls, do you have any info on the trial as far as testimony and most of all - motive? Thanks and best wishes...
SiouxFalls_Girl

Madison, SD

#23 Mar 3, 2007
Sorry, I forgot something...

I do believe that the killers of Gitchie Manitou, the frye brothers did do time, but if it's true what has been told to me, they are both out free once again in our society.

In my opinion, this was definately a crime of the era back in then... Fryer brothers were white, rednecks who apparently had a problem with Indians not only with a white girl, but not willing to "GIVE UP" their pot when commanded to do so. This is why they did not kill the girl, however the numerous rapes of her did demonstrate their disrespect for women.

Tensions between Indians & Whites in South Dakota were intense around the time of the murders the way it was, the Gitchie Manitou Murders helped to escalate the tension. I know there was prejudice in the '70's, I lived it!! I knew all 4 of the boys that were killed and it still hurts many to this day, including me to miss the precious lives lost.
georgia in minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN

#24 Mar 5, 2007
i did find out a few more facts in google news archives..........you have to pay to get the whole story but they let you read about a paragraph. also available were some appeal papers of the fryer brothers. i was wondering if "i remember in sioux falls" knew who i was and if i knew him (or her). my name at the time was georgia johnson. i went to patrick henry junior high.
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#25 Mar 6, 2007
Hi Sioux Falls_Girl...I agree with your intrpretation of motive - but did not know there one of the victims was Native American...however the Fryer brothers are still incarcerated - life without parole I believe. Iowa Dept. of Corrections lets you search for inmates. some state don't...

http://www.doc.state.ia.us/OffenderInfo.asp#l...
WSHS Grad

Arlington, VA

#26 Mar 19, 2007
This brought back sad memories. I did not know Roger other than to say hi, but he was in my homeroom that fall. We were seniors. I will never forget someone asking him on the way out of homeroom that day, "Hey, Rog, what are you doing this weekend?" and he answered with a big smile, "We're going to Gitchie Manitou."
Catholic Boy

United States

#27 May 8, 2007
I knew you Georgia...I too still want to know why and how.
History Major

East Grand Forks, MN

#28 May 18, 2007
the kids that were killed that night did not die from a drug deal gone wrong, it was from a man that came up behind them and told them to give him all there money and drugs and they refused so he shot them as they were running asay
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#29 May 21, 2007
Thanks history major. I'm so glad that these men will never be released. As a teen in SD we picked many out-of-the way rural sites to escape watching adult eyes...I remember a favorite graveyard that we respectfully explored and had some great times at. We were lucky to never run into this kind of monster. I'm still grateful to have grown up in the 60-70's where kids congregated outside and moved freely around town instead of in front of computers and televisions.
newsboy

Omaha, NE

#30 May 29, 2007
Dad was a newsman at the time and he was called out to the scene of the murders in the middle of the night. My brother asked to go along because Gitchie Manitou was our stomping grounds, although had Dad known what they’d find I imagine he would have left him home.
My recollections:
The Gitchie Manitou crimes were committed by kids with mental problems who traveled with shotguns (remember this was a time when stop signs were used for target practice. Kids I knew at school would very often have a rifle in the trunk of the car and we were the city kids). The killers came upon the campers, lined up the four boys and shot them. It doesn’t seem to me they gave anyone a chance to run -- it was dark after all. They drove around for some time with the girl before dropping her off, telling her not to tell anyone. When interviewed by the police, her state of shock was mistaken for indifference and she briefly became a suspect -- this was the seventies.
The people I knew who were acquainted with the killers thought they were pretty scary -- a friend of mine at the time recalled that they had once shot a horse to see it jump.
While in the Lyon County jail, their cell was accidentally left unlocked and they walked out. It was this escape that started all the stories about a jurisdictional battle between Sioux Falls and Lyon but there never was one. I don’t remember if it was the first or second time they were captured, but they tried to elude police by staying on the move, driving county roads for I think three days, but they weren’t smart enough to leave the area.
I have a handful of old audio tapes from Dad’s news days and one of them has an early story on the crime.
Here is a transcription from a broadcast on KELO TV:
BART KULL: Good evening, I’m Bart Kull. Authorities are still searching for two vehicles in connection with the slaying of four Sioux Falls teenagers. The search has narrowed to a red or orange old model pickup truck and a late model yellow sports car -- possibly a 1971 Ford Mustang license plates unknown. Leo Hartig has more.
LEO HARTIG: The killing of four teenage South Dakotans has aroused intense interest around this area. Why these four? And for what reason? Was it a senseless killing or one with a special meaning? Well, here’s what we have at this moment. Four young men dead. At least two of them shot in the back while in a kneeling position. Each of them shot at least twice perhaps three times suggesting the presence of more than one killer. And authorities are now searching for at least three persons all of them apparently in their thirties. It is known that authorities have a young girl in protective custody somewhere in southeastern South Dakota. She is supposed to have witnessed the killings and is approximately 13 years of age. There is the possibility of rape connected with the killings. By whom it was done if at all is not known. While there is nothing definitive to elaborate on, one aspect of the case has received increasing attention. Was the killing in any way drug oriented? Here is a quote from Minnehaha County judge William Heurman (sp)–“From an examination of the juvenile court files and from news account of the homicides it is my opinion that this is a drug related case and is not a reason for mass hysteria that a group of hypochondriac killers are on the loose. I have not been a part of the investigation of these cases.” And that was signed by Judge William Heurman.
So I guess that wild speculation about drugs started with my Dad. Sobering.
As a sidelight, the quoted judge was known as Haircut Huey, famous in the sixties for having the heads of young offenders shaved -- his way of stamping out the long hair inspired by the Beatles.
I think it’s wonderful that people retain an interest in this crime. The four children who died deserve some kind of memory.
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#31 May 30, 2007
Deep thanks to you Newsboy for your very insightful post. The victims truly deserve our respect and remembrance. It's justice that the killers are serving life with no chance of freedom, had they been executed they would have been made victims too.

Have you read "A Rip in Heaven" by Jeanine Cummins about the aftermath of the rape and murder of her 2 teenage cousins. It portrayed the victims families' anguish like no other book I've encountered. The killers pushed the girls and their cousin off a bridge over the Mississippi where 2 drowned and 1 survived...3 out of the 4 attackers were sentenced to death and ended up garnering incredible support and sympathy with the anti-death penalty people, much to the pain of the two victims' family.

I agree with your take on the 70's, I had friends with long hair that were really subjected to incredible harrassment. That's a scream about the judge "Haircut Huey" - I had highschool teachers with the same attitude! scary...when you look at what they thought was long hair was just a little bit of bangs on the forehead!

Did your dad work for Kelo by chance? I won't ask if he knew Captain 11!
Krandolph87

Chicago, IL

#32 Jun 2, 2007
I am shocked that everyone has as opinion on what happen to my great uncle. I am surprised that there is so much interest. I just want to ask that if there is anyone that was really close to to Roger Essem to email me and let me know what he was like please. I am really courious about him.
Thank you
tonya kruid

East Grand Forks, MN

#34 Jun 3, 2007
When I researched theses murders there was a great article in the Argus Leader paper that I got at the SF Library if you are still interested. My mother was supposed to go to that party that night kids always went out to party out at that park. I am pretty sure it was over some drugs.
tonya kruid

East Grand Forks, MN

#35 Jun 3, 2007
when i researched the murders there was a good article in the Argus Leader archives at the SF library. My mother was supposed to go with them that night and I'm pretty sure it was over marijuana.
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#36 Jun 4, 2007
Krandolph87 wrote:
I am shocked that everyone has as opinion on what happen to my great uncle. I am surprised that there is so much interest. I just want to ask that if there is anyone that was really close to to Roger Essem to email me and let me know what he was like please. I am really courious about him.
Thank you
There is a poster on the first page of this that was a good friend of Roger's, maybe you can try replying to their post? Good luck on finding information on your uncle...
georgia in minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN

#37 Jun 18, 2007
i was in sioux falls for father's day and went to the library to see what i could find..........not much, really. but i did ask my dad if he knew judge huerman.(he did). i repeated huerman's quote about "hypochondriac killers" to my dad, wondering aloud if it was possible a judge could really not know what that word means. "well," said my dad, "he's not too bright. he got picked up for shoplifting." i do remember hearing years ago that a judge in sioux falls did get busted shoplifting. i didn't know it was "haircut huey." (what a great name.) shades of things remembered.....that brought back memories of kids who went to plankinton or mccrossan's and came out with a shaved head.
Curious in Oregon

Eugene, OR

#38 Jun 20, 2007
georgia in minneapolis wrote:
i was in sioux falls for father's day and went to the library to see what i could find..........not much, really. but i did ask my dad if he knew judge huerman.(he did). i repeated huerman's quote about "hypochondriac killers" to my dad, wondering aloud if it was possible a judge could really not know what that word means. "well," said my dad, "he's not too bright. he got picked up for shoplifting." i do remember hearing years ago that a judge in sioux falls did get busted shoplifting. i didn't know it was "haircut huey." (what a great name.) shades of things remembered.....that brought back memories of kids who went to plankinton or mccrossan's and came out with a shaved head.
Hey Georgia, that's cool you were in Sioux Falls and checked this out...I wonder if the judge meant to say psychotic instead of hypochondriac or something?! One forgets the level of fear and hate directed towards young people that looked different back then. I wish someone would write a book about this crime...I contacted Ann Rule through her website and she had no information on this crime, think she was mostly a NW crime writer at the time...it just goes back long enough ago that there is little info on the internet or news sites. The True Crime article I read was done before the trial, so it doesn't include a lot of information. Since you're from Sioux Falls, maybe you remember the John Mathis trial...he had a brilliant attorney and in my opinion got away with murdering his wife and 2 children in Marion SD...much like the Jeffrey McDonald case, although he was convicted and claims his innocence too - who knows?
curious in Wash St

Yakima, WA

#39 Jun 20, 2007
I went to Jr. High with Rory Baade. This crime has always interested me. My father was a state trooper in Sioux Falls at the time.
Curious in Oregon....do I know you? The Judge shoplifted cold cuts from a grocery store.
curious in Wash St

Yakima, WA

#40 Jun 21, 2007
Georgia in Minneapolis.... I think I remember you. I too went to Patrick Henry 72-74. My name is Jay Rumbolz.
georgia in minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN

#41 Jun 22, 2007
i wish someone would write a book too. i have actually fantasized about this but i'm a painter, not a writer and it would be a huge undertaking, especially as it took place so long ago. i also ordered the pre-trial "true detective"--strangley enough, it seemed really well researched and respectful of the victims, especially the girl. if you look at other articles in true detective on rape they are usually pretty salacious and blame the victim.(remember the 70's.) i don't remember the mathis thing, but i do remember the roger flitte (sp?) murder---he had his mother killed and as far as i know is still doing time in the sioux falls pen. i knew a friend of his.
jay rumbolz---your name sounds so familiar but i can't quite place you. who did you hang out with? catholic boy i am curious who you are too. i feel like a lot of us who are posting on this crime are in 6 degrees of separation.

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