THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Falkenberg Gets Life Sentence For Murder
Issue Date: March 5, 2020
On Monday, March 2, Stephen Robert Falkenberg, 46, of Yankton, South Dakota, a former Menominee County resident, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his girl friend, Tamara LaFramboise, 46 almost exactly a year earlier. A jury trial in Yankton in January had resulted in Falkenberg's conviction of second-degree murder, and first-degree manslaughter. In South Dakota, second degree murder carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks and Lt. Detective Jeffrey Brunette were present in Yankton for Falkenberg's sentencing. It was investigative work by the Menominee County Sheriff's Office, Michigan State Police, the Michigan State Crime Lab, Yankton County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation that led to Falkenberg's arrest.
On Saturday, March 16, 2019 the remains of an unidentified woman had been found in the Little River tributary to the Menominee River in Menominee County, Mich. The head, hands and feet had been removed from the body and have not been located.
Investigators cross referenced body tattoos with Facebook page photos, and by Monday, March 18, 2019 the body had been identified as LaFramboise and Falkenberg had been arrested at the home of a woman in Sioux Falls, S.D.
LaFramboise was last seen alive on March 1, 2019, and was reported missing on March 5. Police in Yankton had forwarded a missing person flier of LaFromboise to the Menominee, Michigan Police Department on March 7. After the body was discovered in Menominee County police in Yankton were notified.
Since several tattoos were visible on the remains found in Menominee county, a list of LaFromboise's tattoos was obtained from a recent Yankton County Jail booking and the tattoos were consistent with the body that was pulled from the water in Michigan."
According to court documents, Falkenberg had told the Sioux Falls woman he had put LaFromboise's body near their family farm in Michigan and dismembered it because he did not want her to be identified.
Falkenberg reportedly had been a frequent visitor to the Menominee area because of family ties. Falkenberg's step-brother owns a home in rural Menominee Township, about 1.4 miles from the area of the Little River in which the remains were found.
Marks said Falkenberg's arrest and conviction was the result of a lot of teamwork across agencies and across states, and many agencies had worked seamlessly to ensure that justice was done.