Vanished in Vermillion: The Real Story of South Dakota's Most Infamous Cold Case (Paperback)
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The result of hundreds of interviews, Vanished in Vermillion is a cold case story that flips the script on a typical investigation narrative, revealing the biggest law enforcement embarrassment in South Dakota history.
In May 1971, Pam Jackson and Sherri Miller were two seventeen-year-olds driving to an end-of-the-school-year party in a rundown Studebaker Lark when they seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Police back then didn’t do enough to try and find them. Investigators thirty years later did too much. Two families endure decades of pain as they await answers of what happened to their girls. When a third family is pulled into the mystery, they quickly learn their nightmare is just beginning.
“Lou’s terrific storytelling and investigative skills give the reader a front-row seat as he unravels this bizarre case, chock-full of twists and turns.”
—Caroline Lowe, veteran crime journalist and member of the FindJodi team
About the Author
Lou Raguse is a journalist based in Minnesota specializing in crime and courts. Since 2005, he’s reported for local NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates in Minnesota, New York, Arizona, and South Dakota.
Early in his career, Raguse developed a niche for crime reporting and has covered national cases such as the murder of George Floyd and the resulting trials, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the kidnapping and escape of thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs.
Besides countless regional Emmys and other broadcast news awards, Raguse produced an eight-part podcast on the Closs case, 88 Days: The Jayme Closs Story, which won an Edward R. Murrow award and was a top-ten performer on the iTunes podcast charts.
Outside of work, Raguse loves backyard barbeques with his family, playing fantasy football, and hunting down vintage Star Wars toys for his two kids.
“Readers who enjoy procedural true crime will appreciate the well-researched, linear narrative, while readers interested in cold-case true crime will take satisfaction in the forensic storytelling.”
“Lou Raguse delves into the puzzling case of two teenage girls who disappeared en route to a party in rural South Dakota in 1971—a case that went unsolved for more than four decades. The book is a detailed, well-researched, and compelling read that spans the entire mystery from the girls’ heartbreaking disappearance, to the fruitless, agonizing searches that followed, through the startling conclusion. Along the way, Raguse skillfully reveals the story of what led a team of investigators to zero in on a suspect who lived in the area where the girls were going at the time of their disappearance.”
— Prolific true crime author Robert M. Dudley
“A wonderfully-written, compassionate, and shocking true crime story. Lou Raguse mastered the technical retelling of courtrooms long adjourned, bringing an emotional edge to this heart-wrenching tale.”
— Michael Brodkorb, award-winning author of bestselling true crime book, The Girls are Gone
“Investigative journalist Lou Raguse’s true crime book on the mysterious disappearance of two South Dakota teens is a gripping, meticulously detailed story of what happened to the girls, and the serial rapist accused of killing them. Lou’s terrific storytelling and investigative skills give the reader a front row seat as he unravels this bizarre case, chock full of twists and turns.”
— Caroline Lowe, veteran crime reporter and ten-year member of the FindJodi team