A detective used the directories to help identify a 60-year-old woman’s killer.
DALLAS, October 28, 2019 – A single consumer record in Infogroup’s Polk City Directories was the tipping point that helped South Dakota police identify the killer in a cold case murder.
Rapid City Police Detective Wayne Keefe used the directories to cross-reference case information in the 1968 slaying of Gwen Miller, a 60-year-old pharmacist.
“I made a great deal of use of the Polk Directories throughout this whole case just locating people,” Keefe told SBPD Radio during an interview in June. “The nice part of it is you can go back to those books, and you can see where people were living in any particular time, what they were doing, and where they were working.”
On February 29, 1968, Miller failed to show up to work. Police found someone had broken into her home. Autopsy results revealed she was strangled to death and sexually assaulted.
While police were able to pull DNA evidence from the scene, they were unable to find a match. Then, in 1972, the Black Hills flood washed away any hope of finding new forensic evidence to help identify the killer. The flood, one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killed 238 people.
Using the directories, Keefe learned about Eugene Field, a man with a history of domestic violence. Field died of cancer in 2009.
“I didn’t immediately, when I looked at all of the information, realize that I had hit the motherlode,” Keefe said. “There was, I believe, two pages worth of documentation on him on the spreadsheet I created.”
Keefe learned Field lived a half-mile from Miller’s house. He also learned Field also had rented a room next door of the victim’s house.
“I felt it as a major piece of information that I didn’t have before,” Keefe said.
Field worked at the Rapid City Airport, a place Miller frequented during her travels. Keefe then located Field’s brother who agreed to a DNA test. Field’s brother was a partial DNA match, eliminating him and his father as murder suspects. Ultimately, this allowed police to positively identify Eugene Field as the killer.
“It’s incredible South Dakota police were able to use the directories to solve a cold case murder,” said Mike Snyder, general manager of Polk City Directories. “We’ve helped communities with valuable information since 1870.”
Infogroup is a leading provider of data and data-driven marketing solutions for salespeople, marketers, and professionals. The company’s solutions are powered by its proprietary business and consumer databases and supplemented by client and third-party data. Clients range from Fortune 500 enterprises and local businesses to not-for-profit and political organizations. Infogroup’s cloud-based Data Axle technology allows for real-time updates to its business and consumer data files and provides clients with a real-time API delivery platform for the most accurate and up-to-date information to support their marketing and business needs. Infogroup has over 45 years of history creating its own data and makes more than 24 million verification calls per year to ensure data quality. For more information, visit www.infogroup.com.
About Polk City Directories
Polk City Directories was founded in 1870 by Ralph Lane (R.L.) Polk. Born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, R.L. Polk saw a need for a centralized source of community information. Today, the directories provide consumer and business records, contact information, and automobile and vehicle data for millions of people across the United States. For more information, visit www.polkcitydirectories.com.