Sioux Falls rape suspect arrested in Madison by state agents

Lt. Andrew Siebenborn said cooperation between law enforcement in Sioux Falls, Madison, Huron and Pierre helped take the suspect into custody.


SIOUX FALLS — A suspect in a Sioux Falls rape case was arrested in Madison this week in what authorities are calling an excellent show of cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

Ernesto McFarlane, 25, of Huron, was taken into custody in Madison on Thursday, May 25.

A $100,000 cash-only warrant for one count of second-degree rape and one count of second-degree assault.

The arrest stems from May 14, when a victim reported to police that they had been sexually assaulted by an armed man in central Sioux Falls. Investigators were able to gather DNA evidence from the scene, which was sent to the state’s forensic laboratory in Pierre on an expedited status.

Lt. Andrew Siebenborn said the victim was able to provide Sioux Falls police with a good description of the suspect’s vehicle. That information was uploaded to the South Dakota Fusion Center, which shares information about crimes and criminals among law enforcement agencies within the state.


The information led to a hit in Madison, where authorities there believed they had located the vehicle in the city, Siebenborn said.

After a warrant was obtained for McFarlane using the results of DNA testing, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation worked with the Madison Police Department to arrest him. The Huron Police Department also worked with state agents to execute a search warrant on McFarlane’s home, which Siebenborn said recovered additional evidence.

“This was an incredible job by multiple agencies in this state to work cooperatively together and get this subject into custody,” Siebenborn said, thanking the other agencies for their work. “This helped bring a quick arrest in regard to a very serious case.”

He also briefly touched on the victim’s courage to come forward and report the crime.

“I want to speak to courage it takes for a sexual assault victim to come forward and make a report. Sometimes there’s a lot of shame and embarrassment that comes as a part of being a victim of that crime. If you are a victim of that crime, we want to advocate for you, we want to seek justice for that, we encourage you to come forward and report,” he said. “If you’ve become a victim, there are an incredible amount of resources in the community — both with our agency, both with people we have partnerships with — that will advocate for you and support you. I sincerely applaud the victim in this case for having that courage to come forward and help us solidify this for a conclusion.”

McFarlane is set to appear in a Minnehaha County courtroom Friday afternoon, May 26, for an initial hearing. If convicted, he could be sentenced to serve as many as 65 years in prison and ordered to pay fines of up to $130,000.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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