Family of I-70 shooting victim reveal concerns they had before the incident

9 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:06:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
By: Monica Madden, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COOPER COUNTY - It's been four months since someone shot and killed Sioux Falls mother Melissa Peskey while she was driving near Boonville on I-70, leaving her loved ones still asking questions.

In a collaboration between KOMU 8 News and KELO, the station in Sioux Falls that broke the story, Peskey's mother and sisters are sharing new information about the days leading up to Peskey's death.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has still made no arrests, but the story gained traction again after Dateline NBC shared excerpts from interviews with the family over the weekend. 

Peskey's mother, Ellen Renken, told KELO she noticed something different about her daughter before she left Sioux Falls. 

"She acted like she was scared, nervous, high-anxiety. She just didn’t act normal," Renken said.

Her other daughters, Jessica and Kara Renken, also said they could tell something was wrong.

"She had just told me that she was scared. I didn’t ask for details, I took what she offered," Kara said. "I didn’t want us getting phone calls saying 'where’s my wife and where’s my kids?' So I said leave him a note."

The Renken women made a clear distinction to KELO that they are not accusing Peskey's husband, Ryan Peskey, of killing her.

"Well every marriage has problems, so I talked to both of them. I was trying to see both sides," Ellen said. 

When the story broke, Ryan told KELO that investigators told him he was a person of interest. KOMU 8 News also filed a records request in the South Dakota Unified Judicial System, and found there were no divorce filings or a protection order filed against Ryan. There are no charges filed against Ryan in this case.

Sgt. Scott White, a spokesperson for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said he cannot provide information about the suspects. 

"We can’t speculate on the how or the why or the who at this point," he said. "We would name somebody if it aided in the investigation, or if somebody was on the loose or the public was in danger. But we haven’t publicly named a suspect."

Jessica said she is surprised with how long the process is taking. 

"I thought we would’ve known sooner, I expected a week," she said. "I’m starting to think that it has to be somebody that knew her. Just because it just seems weird how it’s so quiet."

White said he understands the family is anxious for answers, but stressed the importance of patience and thoroughness in this case. 

"This is a case that I check in on every single day to see if there’s a new lead to develop because we want answers, we do," he said. "And one thing you cannot do in these homicide investigations is rush it. If we have to be patient, we’ll need to be to get to the bottom of what happened."

Until then, her loved ones continue the waiting game, asking questions about who killed Melissa. 

"They took my best friend from me. I need to know who did that to her and why they would do such a thing to her," Kara said.

The family is urging anyone who knows information about what happened that night to contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

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