Orange City, Iowa– After saying that the defense would have no objection to a change of venue in the murder trial of Rochelle Sapp of Orange City, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister has now filed a request in resistance of the move.Sioux County Courthouse_sva

McAllister, who is the former Sioux County Attorney says that as he said at the pretrial conference on Monday, April 7, 2014, the State does not object to the Court changing the venue. However, McAllister says they would,  ”respectfully request that the Court, in selecting the county to which this case will be transferred, consider not only a location that will provide a fair trial to the Defendant, but also a location that is convenient for the State’s witnesses as well as for the victim’s family and supporters who desire to attend the trial.”

He goes on to say that convenience of the witnesses is a factor that the Iowa Supreme Court has clearly identified as an important factor for the Court to consider in selecting a county to which venue should be transferred.

At last check, no official response has yet been filed.

Thirty-four-year-old Rochelle Sapp is accused of causing the injuries that led to the death of 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma while she was in Sapp’s care last fall.

Ireton, Iowa — Two people from Sioux Center were taken to the Hawarden hospital after an accident near Ireton on Tuesday,April 9.Ambulance Lightbar

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 9:15 PM, 11-year-old Jacob Dragstra of Sioux Center was driving a 1978 International farm tractor pulling a manure spreader eastbound on 420th Street, about six miles northwest of Ireton. Fifty-six-year-old Jerald Huls of Sioux Center was driving a 1999 Oldsmobile Silhouette eastbound on 420th Street following Dragstra. Huls struck the rear of the manure spreader.

The Hawarden Ambulance transported Huls and his passenger, 54-year-old Claudia Shephard of Sioux Center to the Hawarden Hospital.

The Oldsmobile sustained approximately $7,000 in damages. The manure spreader was not damaged.

The Iowa State Patrol, Hawarden Fire Department and Hawarden Ambulance crew assisted the sheriff’s office.

The accident remains under investigation.

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City woman is one of the victims featured in a new report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.madd

In connection with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and the 30th anniversary of the national Victims of Crime Act, MADD is releasing its first-ever victim services report, funded by the generous support of the GM Foundation, to raise awareness around the issues facing victims of drunk and drugged driving and underage drinking.

The new report, called A Voice for Victims: MADD Victim Services Report, provides an inside look at the current state of crime victims’ rights across the country, highlights some of the challenges both bereaved and injured victims are facing, shows how MADD is serving those victims, and urges concerned citizens to take action.

One of the victim stories featured in the report is that of Julie Vander Wel, a mother from Orange City, whose 10-year-old son, Gavin, was killed in a drunk driving crash in July 2009. MADD says Gavin was in the car with his father, who had been drinking and then drove down the wrong side of the road, crashing into another vehicle, killing his son and seriously injuring a man in the other vehicle. Shortly after the crash, Julie turned to MADD for emotional support.

MADD National President Jan Withers says that the group often says, “first there’s the crash, then the lifelong impact.” Withers’ own daughter was killed in an underage drunk driving crash. She says they want people to know that they’re there for victims and their friends and families throughout their healing journey—whether that’s the day of the crash or years down the road. She says they help survivors survive.

More About Mothers Against Drunk Driving:

MADD serves more than 61,000 victims each year, and has more than 1,200 trained volunteer and staff victim advocates nationwide. In addition, MADD’s no-cost Victim Services Help Line is available 24/7 at 877-MADD-HELP. Some of the free services MADD offers to victims include:

Emotional support and guidance
Referrals to local counselors, support groups and attorneys
Help navigating the criminal and civil justice systems
Information and advocacy for coping with complex legal, medical and financial issues
“MADD is a victim service organization at its core, but we know that there are hundreds of thousands more people we could help if they knew about our services,” said Debbie Weir, MADD Chief Executive Officer.

For more information about MADD Victim Services, visit, or call our Victim Services Help Line at 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435).

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

Orange City, Iowa — We reported Monday (April 7) that there may be a change of venue in the trial of an Orange City woman charged with the murder of a child in her care. Thirty-four-year-old Rochelle Sapp is accused of throwing 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma to the floor and causing injuries from which Elgersma died a few days later.Sioux County Courthouse front_sva

It’s not known yet where the trial will be, but they are aiming for a start date of November 13th.

Also, former Sioux County Attorney and current assistant Iowa Attorney General, Coleman McAllister introduced attorney Thomas Kunstle at the pre-trial conference on Monday. He stated that Kunstle is anticipated to be appointed as the new Sioux County Attorney by the Sioux County Board of Supervisors within a week. According to the Sioux County Attorney’s office, Kunstle is currently serving as an Assistant County Attorney in Story County.

Also announced at Monday’s pre-trial conference was the fact that they plan to start jury selection at 1:15 PM on Thursday, November 13th, if that date is available in the county to which the trial is moved. If that works and the jury is seated before the weekend, they plan to start testimony the next Monday or Tuesday, November 17th or 18th.

A deadline of July 31st was set for the defense to file the notice of defenses. Other motions will need to be filed by August 18th. Depositions should take place sometime in July.

District Judge Edward Jacobsen hopes to hear back from Supreme Court officials on the change of venue within a week to ten days.

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City woman who is accused of first degree murder in the death of a child under her care, applied for a change of venue in Sioux County District Court Monday.

Defense attorney Edward Bjornstad requested the change of venue for his client, 33-year-old Rochelle Sapp of Orange City during a pre-trial conference on Monday.  Iowa assistant attorney general Coleman McAllister, representing the state of Iowa did not object to the request.  Citing the extensive media coverage this story has already received, District Judge Edward Jacobsen said he started the process for a change of venue today.

Although it is not known yet where the trial will take place, McAllister asked the judge if the trial could start on November 13th.  The defense did not object.  Judge Jacobsen said they would try for that date.

Judge Jacobsen says he hopes to hear back from the Supreme Court on the change of venup within the next week to ten days.  He says it is a multi-step process.

Prosecutors say that on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, Sapp was providing day care services at her residence to 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma.  They say an incident occurred in Sapp’s home which resulted in Elgersma being hospitalized with severe head trauma.

Prosecutors say Elgersma was initially treated for her injuries at the Orange City Hospital, but because of the severity of her injuries, she was subsequently airlifted to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Elgersma died as a result of her injuries on October 31, 2013.

After an investigation, Sapp was charged with First Degree Murder on December 5th. She entered a written plea of not guilty on December 26th.

In an affidavit, Orange City Police Chief Jim Pottebaum stated that Sapp claimed she threw Elgersma because the child wasn’t able to get her jacket off and didn’t ask for Sapp’s help.

Boyden, Iowa — A George man has been charged with Operating While Intoxicated after an accident that happened on Friday morning east of Boyden.Law Enforcement Lightbar red

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 7:45 AM, 29-year-old Fredrich Trei of George was driving a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora eastbound on Highway 18, a mile east of Boyden. Forty-nine-year-old Frank Martinez of Sibley was driving a 2002 Dodge Durango westbound on Highway 18. Trei lost control of his vehicle, which entered the westbound lane and struck the Dodge.

Martinez reported minor injuries and sought medical attention on his own.

Upon further investigation, the report says that investigating officers suspected that Trei was under the influence of a controlled substance.

Trei was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (drugged). He was issued a citation for failure to maintain control of his vehicle. He was also charged with possessing contraband in a correctional facility.

The Oldsmobile sustained about $3,500 in damages. The Dodge sustained an estimated $4,000 in damages.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol and the Iowa State Patrol Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

Rock Valley, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the public’s help once again; this time to find a car involved in a hit-and-run accident near Rock Valley.Sioux Sheriff Car 84-

They report that on Friday morning, they determined that sometime during the overnight or early morning hours just passed, a driver traveling northbound on Dove Avenue lost control of a vehicle, and it entered the east ditch and struck a MidAmerican Energy utility pole, breaking it off. The vehicle left the area and at last report had not been not found.

The vehicle likely sustained damages to its front.

The utility pole sustained approximately $1,200 in damages.

If you saw suspicious people or activity in this area when this crime took place, you are asked to contact the sheriff’s office. If you have knowledge about the accident and wish to remain anonymous you may use their Text‐a‐Tip program. Directions can be found at

Sioux Center, Iowa — Four people were transported to hospitals after a crash on Thursday evening near Sioux Center.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 6:30 PM, 46-year-old Antonio Cancino-Valdez of Sioux City was Sioux Center Ambulancedriving a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe northbound on Highway 75, a mile south of Sioux Center. Fifty-six-year-old Ralph Shay of Albany, Minnesota was driving a 2003 Ford Windstar minivan southbound on Highway 75.

The report says Cancino-Valdez lost control of his vehicle, which entered the southbound lane and struck the Ford.

Cancino-Valdez and his passenger, 39-year-old Antonio Ramirez, also of Sioux City and Shay and his passenger, 21-year-old Christopher Shay, also of Albany were transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to the Sioux Center Hospital. The Sioux Center Ambulance later transported Ramirez to Avera-McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

The Chevrolet and Ford each sustained about $10,000 in damages.

Cancino-Valdez was cited for failure to maintain control of his vehicle.

The Sioux Center Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Sioux Center Fire Department, and Sioux Center Ambulance assisted the Sheriff’s Office on the scene.

April 3, 2014 - 3:59 pm - Posted in News

Alton, Iowa — A little less than a month ago, we told you that the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a burglary and theft report from a home in rural Alton. Now a Le Mars man has been charged in the case.Hand Cuffs sxc

When the homeowner had returned home he had found a Ford F150 pickup parked near his house. A white man got into the truck and drove off the yard at a high rate of speed. The truck went south on Kiwi Avenue toward Plymouth County. The homeowner realized his residence had been broken into and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Upon further investigation deputies discovered that the perpetrator had entered the residence through a locked door while no one was home. A safe and a camera with two external lenses were reported as stolen.

On Wednesday, April 2, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office charged 36-year-old Chad Braun of Le Mars with Third Degree Burglary and Fourth Degree Theft. The investigation revealed that Braun was found to be in possession of stolen property taken from the home.

Braun is currently detained in the Plymouth County Jail in Le Mars on other charges.

The charges are a result of a joint investigation of the Sioux, Plymouth, and Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Offices.

!cid_image001_jpg@01CF4E58SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Local farmer Paul Schuiteman has directed a $2,500 donation to the Sioux Center Fire Fighters Association. Funded by America’s Farmers Grow Communities, the donation will help the group purchase two sets of firefighting gear for the Sioux Center Fire Department.

Thanks to the support of farmers across the country, more than $3.2 million is being directed to nonprofits in 1,289 counties in 39 states.

“We know the people who work for the fire department, and they do a lot of good in our area,” said Joel Schuiteman, Paul’s brother. “They could use the donation to purchase new equipment to help stop combine fires and farm field fires.”

America’s Farmers Grow Communities works directly with farmers to support nonprofit organizations like the Sioux Center Fire Fighters Association, who are doing important work in their communities. The program offers farmers the chance to win $2,500, which is then donated to the farmer’s nonprofit of choice. The search for funding to sustain and enhance programs is a year-round job for nonprofit organizations across the country. Through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, farmers have been able to support a variety of groups, such as schools, fire departments, community centers and youth organizations like 4-H and FFA.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities launched in 2010, and has since donated over $16 million to more than 6,500 nonprofit organizations across the country. America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, is part of the America’s Farmers initiative, which highlights and celebrates the important contributions of farmers like Paul Schuiteman.

For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information, please visit