A South Dakota man is facing murder charges for allegedly killing his missing girlfriend and dumping her dismembered torso in a Michigan creek earlier this month.
Citing court records, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported that Stephen Falkenberg, 44, told his daughter that Tamara LaFramboise, 46, swung a bat at him at her home before he pushed her into a wall, killing her. Falkenberg’s daughter’s husband reportedly told police that he arrived at their Sioux Falls, South Dakota, home on March 16; Falkenberg’s daughter said the argument occurred after Falkenberg accused LaFramboise of infidelity.
According to the news outlet, LaFramboise was last seen March 1 at 2 a.m. leaving a Walmart in Yankton. Falkenberg’s pickup truck was reportedly spotted in the parking lot before LaFramboise entered the store and was seen leaving after she left the store.
Falkenberg is accused of taking LaFramboise’s body to his brother’s rural property in Menominee, Michigan, and dumping it in a creek on March 16. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that two boys walking their dog discovered LaFramboise’s remains on March 17. Michigan police said her feet, head, and hands haven’t been located.
The body was positively identified by comparing tattoos on the torso with pictures of the missing woman, according to WLUK. Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks said an officer recalled hearing of LaFramboise’s disappearance in South Dakota, allowing them to make a connection.
The Press & Democrat reported that LaFramboise’s body was found naked and that her clothes had been taken off after she froze over. Falkenberg’s daughter reportedly claimed he confessed to dismembering LaFramboise’s body so she wouldn’t be identified.
“Marissa (Falkenberg’s daughter) said she brought up the issue of the police finding the tools he used to dismember Tamara. (Marissa said Falkenberg) told her he got rid of the tools and that he wore gloves when he dismembered Tamara,” the affidavit stated.
Falkenberg was apprehended on March 18 in Sioux Falls. At the time of her disappearance, LaFramboise’s mother indicated that she was in a “very turbulent” “on again off again relationship” with Falkenberg.
Investigators who had interviewed Falkenberg on March 6 noted that he was wearing a brace on his hand. Authorities alleged he provided people with conflicting accounts of how he sustained the injury, according to the Argus Leader.
Authorities also questioned Falkenberg on March 6, a day after LaFramboise was reported missing. He allegedly claimed they had coffee in her apartment at 8 a.m. on the day of her disappearance before she threw him out. He reportedly later admitted to picking her up the same morning for work.
Falkenberg was charged with second-degree murder. He remains jailed on $1 million bond.
[Featured image: Stephen Falkenberg, Tamara LaFramboise/Yankton County Sheriff’s Office]