Brookings Police continue investigation into drowning

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KJJQ) – The Brookings Police Department continues their investigation into the death of 10-year-old Molu Zarpeleh (Muh-loo Zar-puh-lay), whose body was recovered from a private retention pond on Friday, July 3.

Police Chief David Erickson says they canvassed the area many times seeking witnesses and video. Erickson says there is no video directly showing the pond. There is footage adjacent to the pond but the quality is poor. He says they’re working with an outside agency to enhance that video.

Early in the investigation,a child said he had witnessed Molu being pushed into the water. The child later told police the story had been made up. Erickson says investigators employed the assistance of a nationally accredited child advocacy center.

Other than that initial story, have they found anything suspicious?

Erickson says they want to be sure before reaching any conclusion.

Molu was last seen on video at 6:44 p.m. July 2 across the street from the Boys and Girls Club near 12th Street South and Southland Lane. He was riding his bike north, toward his residence. Police are looking for anyone who may have been in that area who may have seen Molu.