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Questions persist in shooting death

MONTEVIDEO -- Gary and Kim Riley rose early to start their day at the cemetery Friday.

They went to remember their daughter, Nicole, on the fourth anniversary of her shooting death.

"It's hard, frustrating," said Gary Riley. "All the emotions are still there."

So too are all of the questions.

Riley said that he and his wife are still seeking answers to their questions about what happened in the early morning of Sept. 12, 2004.

Their memory of that day remains vivid and painful, he said. Two police officers came to their home in Montevideo and told them their daughter, Nicole Riley-Lemcke, had been shot in her home in Appleton and was in the hospital there. Mother and father arrived at the hospital to find the body of their 26-year-old daughter and mother of three children.

All that they know for sure is that she was shot in her home sometime after 6 a.m. Her husband, Andrew Lemcke, stated that his wife had come into the living room where he was sleeping brandishing a handgun. She fired a shot and shouted out the name of a former boyfriend, according to Lemcke. He said he attempted to wrestle the gun from her, they lost their balance, and the two fell on the couch with the gun accidentally discharging, striking his wife.

Authorities later convened a grand jury to hear evidence in the case, and the members of the grand jury returned no bill of indictment.

Authorities have kept the investigation open. No charges have been filed.

The Rileys filed a lawsuit against Swift County to gain access to the information collected by investigators. They also filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Andrew Lemcke.

The lawsuit against the county was settled under terms that allowed the Rileys access to some of the investigatory information, but a significant portion of it remains classified as "for attorney eyes only.''

Under an unusual agreement, the Rileys have also put their wrongful death lawsuit on hold. They have until next May to revive the civil action, or it can be dismissed with prejudice -- which bars any new action related to the claim -- at the defendant's request.

The terms of the agreement prevent the parties to the suit from commenting.

"It's frustrating not knowing the answers," said Gary Riley.