California murder suspect won't face charges in South Dakota

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The latest on a high-speed chase on Interstate 90 turned homicide investigation.

Jan. 19

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Authorities in South Dakota have dropped local charges against a California man who they say was arrested with his mother's body found in the vehicle he was driving.

The Capital Journal reports the procedural move by prosecutors clears the way for 30-year-old Tosten Walsh Lommen to be returned to California to face a murder charge in that state.

Authorities allege Lommen killed his mother, 58-year-old Michelle Walsh, sometime around Dec. 30 while the two were living in her home in Palm Springs, California.

Photo Courtesy: KMIR

Lommen was arrested on New Year's Day on suspicion of drunk driving and eluding police following a chase on Interstate 90 in South Dakota. Authorities say they found his mother's body wrapped in a blanket in the back seat.

Information from: Pierre Capital Journal,

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Jan. 9

Tosten David Walsh-Lommen, 30, is charged with murder in California after he was caught driving with his dead mother in the vehicle in Rapid City, S.D.

Walsh-Lommen was stopped by authorities after a 50-mile chase on New Year's Day. Michelle Nanette Walsh, 58, was found wrapped in blankets in the back of the SUV.

Photo Courtesy: KMIR

Walsh-Lommen remains in custody in Rapid City on a $2.5 million bond.

According to an arrest warrant declaration, Walsh-Lommen admitted to choking his mother to death, then "freaked out and attempted to clean up the crime scene with bleach." 

Bleach and blood stains were found at Michelle's Palm Springs, Calif. home, where Walsh-Lommen had been staying.

It is unclear when Walsh-Lommen will be extradited back to California.


Jan. 8

Preliminary autopsy results have been released for a woman found dead in the back of an SUV after a high-speed chase that ended in Rapid City, S.D.

Michelle Nanette Walsh, 58, was found by authorities on Jan. 1.

“Preliminary autopsy results indicate blunt trauma injury to her head and hemorrhage anterior neck musculature,” said Jackley. “This confirms this is a homicide and will continue to be treated as such.”  


Jan. 4

The victim has been identified as Michelle Nanette Walsh, 58, of Palm Springs, Calif - Walsh-Lommen's mother. She was found dead and wrapped in blankets in the rear of the vehicle after a high-speed chase that ended in Rapid City, S.D.

An autopsy was conducted on the victim on Jan. 3, and the results are still pending. 

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17.

“South Dakota law enforcement is continuing to work with California investigators and prosecutors on this ongoing death investigation,” said South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. “This arrest is a great example of the coordinated efforts of state and local law enforcement and the difficult work they face each day to protect us.”


Jan. 3

Authorities have identified the woman whose body was found in the back of the SUV, but her name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

Tosten Walsh-Lommen is charged with aggravated eluding, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and resisting arrest. He is being held on a $2.5 million bond. 


Jan. 2, 9:20 p.m.

Public records confirm that Tosten Walsh-Lommen lived in Palm Springs, Calif. with his mother. Sources tell NBC that there was heavy police activity at the home the day of the chase, and investigators were seen hauling items from the home.

According to those sources, the vehicle Walsh-Lommen was driving was his mother's SUV.


9:45 a.m.

A traffic arrest has turned into a suspicious death investigation, led by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

Tosten David Walsh-Lommen, 30, Santa Cruz, Calif., has been arrested on several charges.

Just before noon Monday, a South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper observed Lommen traveling eastbound on Interstate 90 in Lawrence County at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The trooper attempted to initiate a traffic enforcement stop, but the driver failed to stop.

The pursuit continued east on I-90 from Spearfish to Rapid City, reaching speeds of about 118 mph. Law enforcement successfully spiked the vehicle, which eventually came to a stop on I-90 inside of Rapid City city limits after crashing into a ditch.

Lommen exited his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot, but was apprehended by law enforcement.

Upon a search of the vehicle, the body of a deceased woman was found, wrapped in blankets.

Agencies that assisted were the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Meade County Sheriff Office, Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation.


Jan. 1

South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers engaged in a high-speed chase on Monday.

Eyewitness reports say police chased a white Honda SUV on Interstate 90 eastbound at mile marker 57 until they eventually deployed spike strips to subdue the vehicle. The vehicle's left front tire was disabled, and the car came to a stop in a ditch just before the gap.

It is unclear if there were any injuries.

The incident is currently under investigation by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

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