The wife of Brown County Sheriff Dave Lunzman is at the center of an ongoing investigation into warrantless blood draws that’s splintering relations between area law enforcement.
The Aberdeen Police Department has stopped using the Brown County Sheriff’s Office to administer blood draws amid allegations that a county blood draw technician — Mary Jane Lunzman — took at least one blood sample from a DUI suspect this fall without consent or a warrant.
Lunzman, the wife of Brown County Sheriff Dave Lunzman, has since had her duties within the county jail reduced, but not until the incident came onto the radar of other Brown County officials last month. That prompted the Brown County State’s Attorney’s Office to retain outside counsel to investigate the allegations.
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation who spoke with The Dakota Scout, Aberdeen Police Chief Dave McNeil, in a series of letters sent last month to Sheriff Lunzman, voiced concerns about his wife’s conduct potentially undermining the integrity and capacities of law enforcement investigations. McNeil requested she no longer perform blood draws associated with arrests made by the Aberdeen Police Department.
However, the sheriff’s office declined to adjust blood draw staffing operations, and Avera St. Luke’s Hospital is now conducting blood draws for the Aberdeen Police Department.
Sheriff’s wife hired after he was elected in 2022
Mary Jane Lunzman was hired by the sheriff’s office following her husband’s election in 2022. Prior to being elected sheriff, Lunzman served on the Aberdeen City Council.
Sheriff Lunzman did not respond to requests for comment. McNeil and other public officials aren’t talking either, citing the ongoing investigation and privacy concerns around what they characterize as a personnel issue.
That includes at least two members of the county commission, Duane Sutton and fellow Commissioner Drew Dennert.
“Because this is a personnel issue, I have no comment,” Sutton said.