Lakota Rae Renville (July 6, 1983 – Oct 16, 2005) was only 22 years old when her body was found on Oct 16, 2005. Her remains were in an open gravel lot near Pitcher Road, Independence, Missouri.
Lakota, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux tribe of South Dakota, was the daughter of Julie Keeble Watts and stepdaughter of Norman K. Watts. She left their reservation for Kansas City to be with a man she met online.
Please take a close look at the pictures. Lakota’s nude body was wrapped in a Southwestern style blanket. It has a desert theme with a skeleton head of a steer with horns on it. Do you recognize it? Seen anything like this before? Were any of her clothes ever found?
The person who walked past that area though that they were looking at a pile of trash that someone would put at the curb for pick up. But then they saw that a head was sticking out of the carpet roll.
Lakota was wrapped in carpet padding and then that roll was wrapped in a southwestern-style blanket. Why her head was sticking out, is unclear. If she was already dead, it makes no sense. If they thought that she was unconscious and would later recognize the assault/wrapping as a warning, it makes sense. So, what is the exact time of death and the exact cause of death?
As the carpet and the padding seem to have been preserved they have to be examined with the M-Vac for touch DNA. Whoever rolled Lakota or transported her, could have left biological materials.
The authorities are holding this case close to the chest e.g. no details are public as to exact manner in which she died, the timing, or what kind of physical evidence was found. It means they have something and they will use it to filter all the incoming information. So, let’s see what we do have in the public domain.
1: The authorities mentioned Lakota’s murder was “brutal” and “vicious.” That leaves out accidental death.
2: Lakota was beaten and stabbed to death. However, we do not know how many stab wounds, their depths, what kind of knife could have been used, whether a knife was found near her remains, what the order of the trauma was (beaten and then stabbed or any injuries post-mortem?) and we also don’t know exactly what caused her death. It could be a fatal stabbing or exsanguination. The carpet is not too bloody but we know nothing about the carpet padding.
3: Some physical evidence (and thus DNA) was found and a few men have been questioned. So far, no matches and no arrests.
4: Lakota’s cell phone was stolen and used by her killer in an attempt to thwart police. Still, triangulation should tell us something about their location. It will not solve the crime but any location that we can add to the timeline helps advance Lakota’s case. We could search for CCTV camera’s, check reports about suspicious people, etc.
5: One thing that is huge, is that authorities believe that Lakota was killed somewhere else and then placed where she was found. We may even have to consider a third crime scene: the point from where Lakota vanished. Do we know exactly where she was seen last? Any reports of disturbances that on their own mean little but as part of a 3-crime-scene-case make sense?
6: According to this website “Lakota was allegedly involved in sex trafficking along Independence Avenue in Kansas City, MO.” In the Billings Gazette from Sept 9, 2018, Lakota’s sister Waynette doubted her sister was a prostitute. She believes that she was forced.
In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.
We need to get these cases back in the mainstream media, to get people talking again, and if anything, to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are unsolved does not mean that we can forget about them.
I encourage you to share this post on your own social media platforms. By sharing these posts, the cases reach new networks, new connections, and new news feeds. Maybe one day these updates will pop up in the right person’s news feed. This may be someone who can actually help advance the case and that is my goal.
Rest in peace, Lakota Rae Renville.