May 17, 2016

Homicide investigation opens after RCPD & PCSO discover body buried in forest south of Rockerville

On May 13th of 2016, Detectives of the Rapid City Police Department were notified by the Newcastle Police Department that a witness had come forward with knowledge of a homicide that took place in May of 2015 and could show law enforcement where the victim’s body had been buried.

Detectives of the RCPD and Investigators with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office made contact with the witness. The witness was able to direct law enforcement to an undisclosed location south of Rockerville. A grid search was conducted, and two gravesites were located. Evidence specialists from the RCPD and the SD Division of Criminal investigation were called in to process both sites, and the body of the victim was located in one of the sites.

The victim is identified as 22-year-old Jessica Rehfeld of Rapid City. The RCPD called on the public’s help to locate Rehfeld as a missing person on May 22nd, 2015.

After Jessica was located, the priority then shifted to locating the suspects responsible for her death. Information garnered in the subsequent investigation led law enforcement to focus on three suspects. These suspects have been arrested on charges of First Degree Murder. They are identified as:

  • 26-year-old Jonathon Klinetobe of Sturgis
  • 24-year-old David Schneider of Rapid City
  • 35-year-old Richard Hirth of Rapid City

All three have been interviewed, and information garnered in the investigation outlines to a case of murder-for-hire. Detectives and investigators believe Jonathon Kinetobe offered David Schneider and Richard Hirth thousands of dollars for Jessica’s murder. Klinetobe is an ex-boyfriend of Jessica’s.

On May 18th, 2015, David and Richard offered to give Jessica a ride to where she worked. Instead, they drove her to a secluded service road on Rapid City’s northeast side where she was stabbed to death. Her body was placed in a bag, and the two men picked up Jonathan Klinetobe at his house before heading to the burial site south of Rockerville. That night, the three men buried Jessica.

Within the span of about two weeks, Klinetobe solicited the help of two more suspects in an effort to further hide Jessica’s body. They are identified as:

  • 24-year-old Michael Frye of Rapid City
  • 29-year-old Garland Brown of Rapid City.

These two men helped Jonathan Klinetobe move Jessica’s body and place it in a second grave site nearby. Both Frye and Brown have now been arrested for Accessory to First Degree Murder.

“All of this information has come to light in a matter of of days, thanks to the cooperative and dedicated work of dozens of personnel from multiple local law enforcement agencies,” said Captain James Johns of the RCPD’s Criminal Investigations Division. “Hundreds of man-hours were spent over this past weekend to work to understand the details and motivations behind this homicide.“

This incident spans a wide area, and highlights the close working relationship our agencies have when it comes to holding these offenders accountable of their crimes. It all started with help from the Newcastle Police Department. Personnel from the Rapid City Police Department’s evidence section and specialists from the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation spent hours out in the field alongside detectives and investigators working to painstakingly process the burial sites. Deputies of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office stepped up to provide hours of scene security as the sites were processed. Deputies of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office worked with the RCPD and PCSO to safely apprehend a Richard Hirth, who was located living in St. Onge.

“It’s difficult work, and it’s grueling work,” said PCSO Chief Deputy Willie Whelchel. “Black Hills residents should be proud of the exhausting effort these men and women are putting in while the rest of the community sleeps, and we’re all certainly thankful these dangerous individuals are now off the streets.”

This is still a very-much open and active investigation. Anyone with any further information about this case is uged to contact police investigations at 394-4134. You can also send an anonymous tip by texting the letters ‘RCPD’ and the information to 847411.

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