Former lawmaker commits suicide after home searched for child porn

Late Thursday afternoon, word started to spread around the South Dakota Capitol that longtime former lawmaker Gil Koetzle had died.

No one had any specifics, or at least none that they would share. On the floor of the Senate today, Lt. Gov. Matt Michels briefly praised Koetzle.

"With Gil’s passing yesterday, I think we’re all stunned," Michels said. "Gil was a great person, just a super human being."

Other lawmakers expressed similar sentiments around the Capitol.

Now Argus Leader reporter John Hult has information that changes the tenor of the news considerably.

Koetzle, 60, committed suicide Thursday after authorities seized drugs and computers from his home after tracing child pornography to his email account, Hult reports.

We don’t yet have all the information yet, though detectives say that there is no “indication that there was any physical contact with children” by Koetzle.

For a summary of Koetzle as a legislator, read this Mercer piece.

UPDATE: Hult, saving me a bunch of work, talks to veteran lawmakers who served with Koetzle. Everyone was shocked by the news.

“If you’d have asked me to name 1,000 people who had a problem with that, Gil would have been the 1,000th,” said Rep. Bernie Hunhoff.

Read the follow-up here.