Investigators find lost original South Dakota state flag in Washington D.C.

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PIERRE, S.D -- Criminal charges are anticipated in the “near future” in the theft of the original South Dakota state flag after a 10-month investigation found the flag in Washington, D.C.

State Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Wednesday that the flag was found in the nation’s capital city from a former South Dakota secretary of state employee, whom he did not identify.

The secretary of state’s office had began an internal investigation last January, with the matter referred to Jackley’s office in July. The state Division of Criminal Investigation then took over and found the flag Oct. 8.

“The recovery of the South Dakota’s original State Flag preserves an important part of our history for the citizens of South Dakota,” said Jackley.

The state flag dates back to 1909 when former Pierre radio station operator Doane Robinson McNeil designed the flag at the request of state Sen. Ernest May of Deadwood. It was a blazing sun on an azure background because the state’s motto is “The Sunshine State.” May then said the seal of the state should be on the reverse side of the flag in dark blue, and money was appropriated to buy two flags. One went to the secretary of state and another to Seth Bullock of United Spanish Veterans of South Dakota.