A Johnston couple is asking officials in South Dakota to take another look at the death of their son four years ago. Ryan Hargens was last seen alive late on January 28th of 2005 at a hotel in downtown Sioux Falls, and was found dead of a gunshot wound in his apartment three days later. His father, Roger Hargens, says they’ve never believed their son took his own life, as was originally ruled by South Dakota officials.
Hargens says they always felt the original suicide ruling was incorrect and in 2007 they presented facts from their own criminologist to the county coroner who changed the cause of death to "undetermined." Hargens says the investigator they hired found all kinds of evidence that confirmed their belief Ryan did not shoot himself.
Hargens says one of the many key findings was the gun found at the apartment was Ryan’s gun and there was no blood or tissue found anywhere on the gun, which he says is an impossibility in a case like this. Roger Hargens and Ryan’s mother Jane help a news conference in Sioux Falls Wednesday and asked the U.S. Attorney to convene a federal grand jury in Sioux City, Iowa to review the facts of the case.
Hargens says they’ve given the U.S. Attorney asking him to convene the federal grand jury quickly. Hargens says they want the case to be solved. "We believe strongly our son was murdered, and the facts in front a a grand jury will prove that, and we want justice for Ryan, and we want the people that did this to our son to be brought to justice," Hagens. Ryan Hargens would have been 28. The Hargens are also offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for his murder. Information may be provided confidentially by calling (515) 277-7437.
The Sioux Falls Police Department issued the following in response to the news conference by the Hargens:
The Sioux Falls Police Department began an investigation into the death of Ryan Hargens on 01/31/05. The investigation into this incident and the evidence recovered has led us to conclude that the death of Ryan Hargens was the result of a suicide.
If any valid and logical leads were developed at the time of this investigation or in the future, the Sioux Falls Police Department has and will continue to follow up on any such leads.
At the request of the Hargens family, our investigation and the evidence recovered in this death investigation has subsequently been reviewed by the South Dakota Attorney General, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota’s Cold Case Homicide Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI has reviewed this case twice at the request of the Hargens family and is in the process of completing a third review. Each of these law enforcement entities, after their independent review, has concluded that nothing is inconsistent with Ryan Hargens committing suicide.