Imagine checking in on a loved one at home, only to find the house in disarray.
A partially eaten pizza, flour scattered on the floor, and a car still in the driveway.
That was what a Sioux Falls man saw back in 1974.
The man then reported his estranged wife missing, but that's not the whole story...
Since they were estranged, it was actually her co-workers who first alerted the husband.
Police say it's a unique case for Sioux Falls.
Of course they have other missing person cases and unsolved homicides but this case started as a missing person case with a lot of unusual circumstances.
Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens explained, at 39 years and counting, it maybe rare to solve a missing person case this old but not impossible.
"You have 50-year-old murders that all of a sudden get solved with one new piece of evidence and really, that's all we're looking for," Officer Clemens said.
Ella Beth Lodermeier's estranged husband called police because his wife's co-workers believed she was missing. her husband and police went to the house to find it looked like someone left in a hurry.
"The only thing that they could find was missing from inside the house was her purse and her coat. But the cars was still there, she hadn't notified any family or friends or anything so there were a lot of different things that really from the beginning made officers suspicious," Officer Clemens said.
After ten years, police exhausted all leads in the case until something unexpected turned up in 1992, her purse and wallet. The evidence was found in this area east of Sioux falls on the banks of the Big Sioux, nearly 20 years later after Ella Beth went missing
"The work the officers and detectives did once that information came to light, once they found that stuff, they went through a lot, checking out that area and looking at different places where she may have been buried," Officer Clemens said.
As with many cases, police considered Ella Beth's estranged husband a suspect at one time.
"There have been talk about different other people but really nothing came to fruition from any of those things. so there's still some direction that the case is going. it's not a closed case by any means," Officer Clemens said.
Police believe it's never too late to solve this case.
"If there's some new information, a tip, somebody heard something or saw something... at this point in time, it might be a grandma who said something to a grandson," Officer Clemens said.
One piece of evidence which would obviously give police a clue in this case is her body.
But Ella Beth's body has never been found.
A reward was offered at the time of her disappearance in 1974 in the amount of $1200.
Police reports state people were asked within a 200-mile radius to look for any evidence of a possible grave site where a body may have been buried.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
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