Suspect charged in 2001 state park killing

Carrie Nelson
Carrie Nelson was beaten to death during an apparent robbery at Blue Mounds State Park in May 2001. She was 20 at the time of her death.
Photo courtesy of the BCA

(AP) - A man already in prison on South Dakota has been charged with murder in the death of a Blue Mounds State Park employee six years ago.

Prosecutors charged Randy L. Swaney, 35, with four counts of second-degree murder. The charges were announced Tuesday in Luverne, in southwestern Minnesota, but were filed there late Wednesday.

Swaney was in prison Tuesday in South Dakota on an unrelated charge. He was set to be released from prison on Wednesday, but will now be held pending extradition, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Carrie Nelson, 20, was beaten to death during an apparent robbery at the southwestern Minnesota state park in May 2001.

"We've constantly pursued leads in this case," said Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge. "We've followed up on every lead that we've gotten in the past six years, no matter how small, so we could solve this case."

Investigators have said Nelson probably surprised someone taking money. The Luverne High School graduate was starting her second year at the park when she was killed.

Her death is believed to be the first time a state park employee had been killed on duty in the history of the park system.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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