Monday, June 13, 2022

The Murder of Victoria Eagleman


Victoria Eagleman was 33 years old when she vanished on July 28th, 2006. The mother-of-five spent that day swimming and drinking along the Missouri River on the Lower Brule Lakota Indian Reservation. She never returned home and was never seen alive by her family and friends again.

At the time of her disappearance, Victoria and her five children had moved into her mother June Left Hand's house on the reservation in Lower Brule, South Dakota. This was intended to be a temporary living situation while Victoria looked for a new job. Victoria also was dating a man known locally as Sonny. According to her mother June, Victoria's relationship with Sonny was physically abusive and Victoria was often left with several bruises and injuries that required stitches.

On the day Victoria disappeared, she went to the river with Sonny, her sister, and her sister's boyfriend. Later that evening, Sonny returned home to June's house, but Victoria was not with him. He told June that Victoria had dropped him off, and he did not know where she went after that. After a few days passed without any sign of her, Victoria was reported missing to the tribal police.

Over the next few weeks, some of Victoria's items were found — including her glasses and a ring she was wearing on the day of her disappearance. Both items were smashed and appeared to have been driven over. Then, on August 22nd, 2006, a group of volunteers organized a search with over 200 community members participating. It was during that search that Victoria's nude body was found stuffed in a culvert on a remote part of the reservation. There were obvious signs of trauma to her body, and investigators later determined that her death was likely caused by blunt force trauma to the head. 

Due to the history of physical abuse in their relationship, Sonny seems like a fairly obvious suspect in Victoria's case. He was with Victoria on the day she vanished, and Victoria's sister later stated that the two of them were arguing that day. Additionally, Sonny reportedly referred to Victoria in the past tense while she was still missing, and he did not participate in any of the searches for her. Despite this, Sonny has not been publicly named as a suspect — nor has anyone to date.

Victoria's loved ones have questioned the effort being put into the case investigation from the very beginning. Just months after the murder occurred, a random citizen found Victoria's case file, including several crime scene photographs, scattered around the street in front of the local police department. The citizen promptly returned the file to the police, but the incident led to questions over whether or not police were actually thoroughly investigating Victoria's case. 

Many years have passed, but Victoria's murder still remains unsolved. Her case is reportedly among several other unsolved murders of indigenous women in South Dakota. Both FBI and tribal authorities are investigating. If you have any information that could help solve Victoria's case, please contact the FBI Pierre Office at (605) 224-8971.

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