So, what do you do now?

Where do you go from here?

Those were the last questions I asked Jody Gerlach, hours after what had been a grueling 18 months and even tougher 24 hours.

Friday, September 8, 2023, Gerlach sat in a packed Lincoln County Courthouse in Canton, South Dakota, miles from his Arizona home. It was in that courthouse seat he listened to the verdict he had been waiting for.

What was that like? I asked

Relief. Like a giant sigh of Relief Gerlach stated.

On March 1st, 2022, Gerlach's only daughter, Randi, was found in the basement of a Lincoln County house along Highway 11 on the south edge of Sioux Falls. Her body had been covered with a blanket and left in a corner of the basement where Jackson Phillips, who had a protection order to stay away from the young mother had been living.

Family and friends grieved Randi's loss at the funeral and other gatherings. Tee shirts were made. Bumper stickers stating #justiceforraindi were printed and the long wait began.

The wheels of justice slowly turned while Phillips sat in a jail cell waiting for sentencing. That day came Friday, September 8, 2023, with the life sentence in prison with no chance of parole.

I asked Randi's dad Jody Gerlach, what was next? I wondered how you move on after an event like this. His response was simple and immediate, he said;

Used with Permission.
Used with Permission.  Photo of a young, Randi Gerlach

This is the third story I have written for Randi. I said it before, and I'll say it again, and again if I have to.  The Compass Center here in Sioux Falls is here to help. There may be people reading this story now, who may not realize that they are potentially in a toxic abusive relationship. If it's you, use The Compass Center as a resource. Use them.

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