Former Lawmaker Dead, Home Searched
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
January 12, 2013 5:28 PM
A former South Dakota State Senator is dead. 60-year-old Gil Koetzle was found deceased in his home Thursday night. It comes after authorities served a search warrant at his home Wednesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography.
"You knew who he was because he was always out spoken for where he thought was injustice being done, or for people that weren't being treated fair,” said State Representative Manny Steele.
Steele said the news of former Senator Gil Koetzle allegedly being in possession of child porn comes as a great shock to him.
“Shock, I had no idea anything, or that there were any problems at all,” said State Rep. Steele.
Problems, that would eventually lead the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to search Koetzle’s home. According to Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead, the task force traced explicit images of young girls to Koetzle’s email. On Wednesday, they served a search warrant at his home in Sioux Falls. There, Milstead said detectives found 13 grams of marijuana as well as drug paraphernalia. They seized the drugs as well as Koetzle’s computers.
"If you don't keep yourself busy you just sit there and bang on the computer,” said Steele.
The next day, Thursday January 10, the police were called to Koetzle’s home for a cardiac arrest. They found the 60-year-old deceased in his home.
All of this has left his former colleagues wondering what happened. Steele said sometimes even the best people fall into a trap.
"I look at it as sin takes you in step by step, and if it gets the chance to, it’s going to ruin you,” Steele said.
State Representative Hal Wick said he remembers Koetzle as a family man with a good heart.
"He was a fun, generous caring kind of person, he would never hurt anybody,” said State Representative Hal Wick.
For both, no matter what search warrants, or police uncover, Koetzle will always be remembered for those things.
“I think he should be remembered for the good he did,” said State Rep. Wick.
“We will remember him as such a terrific guy,” said Steele.
The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s office said there is a follow up investigation being done and authorities do not believe there were any victims as a result of the child pornography at this time.
Koetzle served the city of Sioux Falls in the state senate, as well as the house of representatives for 16 years.