Who Killed Melissa Peskey? New Details On The Unsolved Murder Of The South Dakota Realtor

Melissa Peskey's murder was featured on NBC's "Dateline."

Who Killed Melissa Peskey? New Details On The Unsolved Murder Of The South Dakota Realtor Kelo.com

In life, Melissa Peskey was a beloved realtor who served her Sioux Falls, SD community with pride. But on December 13, 2018, Peskey was shot to death on an interstate while she was traveling with her children.

Who killed Melissa Peskey?

Nearly four months after her murder, police are no closer to solving the case than they were when her body was first found.

Let’s look at what we know about Melissa Peskey and her murder.


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1. She was very close with her sisters and her mother.

Melissa Peskey's family is devastated about losing her.


When news of Melissa Peskey’s death hit the news, the first people to react were her sisters, Kara and Jessica Rankin.

The sisters told Keloland Media Group that they were “devastated” to hear about their sister’s death, adding that they were all “very close” and knew that something was wrong.

“The last conversation we had, it was very intense. And it really gave me reason; I was scared for her. It really made me think and then when this happened, it really made me think," Jessica Renken said to the outlet.

Melissa’s mother, Ellen, was just as close with her daughter, and just as devastated about her death. She, too, said that she suspected something was wrong with Melissa.


“I knew she was going someplace. She said, 'I don't want to tell you, but I'm going to a good place,'" Ellen Renken said. “I was; she really had...she acted like she was scared; nervous, high anxiety. She just didn't act normal.”

2. Her friends say that Melissa Peskey knew she would be killed.

Some of Melissa Peskey's friends say they knew this would happen. 


While Melissa Peskey’s family is missing her, every day, Melissa’s friends believe that she always knew she would be killed.

Melissa’s friend, who asked not to be named, said that before Melissa took off to go cross-country with her children, she told her that she was to “tell the truth” about what happened to her should something, indeed, go wrong.

"I am not convinced that whoever shot her — I will put it that way — that I am safe from that person," Melissa Peskey's friend said to Keloland Media Group in a separate report. "So, she said, 'I do have a place to go.' And she mentioned it was with her friend in South Carolina and she could go there. And that's where she felt she could go because it was further away. And it was during that conversation that she said what is making me come forward today. And that is, 'If anything ever happens to me, you have to promise me that you will let the police know that Ryan did this?' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And she said, 'He has threatened to shoot me or kill me and if anything ever happens, you have to promise me.' So I said, 'Okay I will.'"

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3. Was her estranged husband, Ryan, responsible for her death?

Some of Melissa Peskey's friends believe that her estranged husband, Ryan, was responsible for her death. 

Melissa Peskey’s friend also told Keloland Media Group that she strongly believed it was Melissa’s estranged husband, Ryan, that was responsible for her death. Ryan, who is a South Dakota National Guardsman, allegedly threatened to “kill her” if she’d ever left. So, when she ran away with the children, the friend believes that it’s possible that Ryan followed her until he could get alone, then shot her dead. Melissa’s friend also believed that this is why the police are “dragging their feet” when it comes to finding a suspect.


4. There is a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Police still have no leads on who killed Melissa Peskey.

Regardless of whether the police are dragging their feet, or simply do not have a clue as to what’s going on, Melissa Peskey’s family has raised more than $11,000 via a GoFundMe to pay, not only for any legal expenses, but to provide a reward for the person who comes forward with information leading to an arrest.


But, according to KSFY, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who's handling the case, says that solving the case is the “number one priority” for them right now. They are asking anyone with information to give them a call at 573-751-1000. Callers can remain anonymous, if they so wish, but they’re being asked not to talk about the case with anyone but the police.

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. Find her online at www.bernadettegiacomazzo.com and www.longlivetheuprising.com.