Former SD Official’s Death Ruled Suicide by AG’s Office

Richard Benda (SD Tourism and State Development Photo)

 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – The state attorney general says former South Dakota economic development director Richard Benda died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Benda was found Oct. 22 in a grove of trees near Lake Andes, in southeast South Dakota.

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced the autopsy results Thursday. He said Benda died Oct. 20 and no physical or digital evidence was found to indicate foul play.

Benda served as secretary of Tourism and State Development from 2006 to 2010 under former Gov. Mike Rounds. He also was loan monitor for Northern Beef Packers.

The day after Benda’s funeral, Gov. Dennis Daugaard acknowledged an investigation was underway into the Governor’s Office of Economic Development involving possible financial misconduct prior to his administration. Daugaard said there has also been a federal investigation.


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