Tamara LaFramboise

Tamara LaFramboise (Photo: Yankton County Sheriff'S Office)

Tattoos ID Body Of Woman Found Dismembered In Upper Peninsula

Search is ongoing for head, hands and feet

March 20, 2019 - 12:17 pm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (WWJ/AP) - A search for the head, hands and feet of a South Dakota woman is ongoing today in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

Authorities used tattoos to identify the dismembered body of 46-year-old Tamara LaFramboise, found Saturday by two boys walking their dog in rural in Menominee Township.

"They looked over the side of a bridge and saw a body in the Little River," said Menominee County Sheriff Kenny Marks, at a Wednesday news conference. "The body was missing feet, hands and head." 

A search of the area, the sheriff said, is ongoing. 

"We brought a cadaver K9 up from Lansing over the weekend...searching for evidence and possible body parts," the sheriff said. "But we are still searching and we're encouraging other jurisdictions to be aware and vigilant as well that they have not been recovered at this time," Marks said.

"Actually, we could include concerned citizens in the Menominee area," said Menominee County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Rogg, "Obviously, to be on the lookout for anything unusual and to notify law enforcement if something is noticed."

Stephen Falkenberg (Yankton County Sheriff's Office)
Rogg said Stephen Robert Falkenberg is accused of killing LaFramboise in Yankton, South Dakota, and then dumping her body not far from his brother's northern Michigan home. 

Falkenberg, 45, of Yankton, was arrested in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Monday, after Yankton County prosecutors charged him with second degree murder.

Court documents cited by KSFY-TV show Falkenberg told his sister that he had an argument with LaFramboise at her Yankton apartment and that he pushed her, she hit her head and died. According to a probable cause affidavit, Falkenberg told his sister he dismembered LaFramboise's body in an attempt to conceal her identity.

The two were involved in an off-and-on dating relationship, according to authorities. 

Rogg said sheriff's officials in Menominee have been working around the clock, going without sleep, as they continue to work this case along with officials in South Dakota, the FBI and the Michigan State Crime Lab.

"There have been some, frankly, gory details that have been released in this case, and I think it's important to remember that there is a human aspect to this case, too," Rogg added. "And that is that Miss. LaFramboise was the daughter of a woman, her mother that still lives in New Mexico. She was the mother of two young adult children."

"If you're a praying person, I would urge you to consider keeping their family in mind during the next difficult days, weeks and months to come for them as they not only deal with the loss of their loved one, but the progress of this criminal case."

LaFramboise was reported missing by her family on March 1. 

Falkenberg remains held in the Yankon County Jail on a $1 million cash only bond. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.