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UPDATE: Authorities uncertain why man committed suicide on I-70

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 8:18 p.m. CST; updated 4:01 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 3, 2011

This story has been corrected to indicate that Todd Rehkop and Diane Rehkop were divorced in January 2008.

COLUMBIA — Much remained unclear about what caused a Lake St. Louis man to take his own life early Wednesday alongside Interstate 70 in Lafayette County.

But police said that the man, Todd Rehkop, might have been the person who sexually assaulted one woman and accosted two others with a gun Tuesday night.

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According to a previous Missourian report, in those incidents:

  • At about 7:35 p.m., a 57-year-old woman was unloading groceries in the Sam's Club parking lot off Conley Road when she was approached by a man who showed her a gun, Sgt. Jill Wieneke, Columbia police spokeswoman, said. When she told him to leave, he smiled and walked away, the woman told police.
  • At 10:59 p.m., police received a call about a sexual assault at the Hy-Vee on Conley Road. An armed man approached a woman in the parking lot and ordered her to perform oral sex on him and remove her clothing, Wieneke said. Although the woman was naked, she was able to escape and run into Hy-Vee for help.
  • At 12:21 a.m., Boonville police received a report that a Pilot Travel Centers employee was approached by a man asking for a shower room. As she opened the shower room, he attempted to sexually assault her, Boonville Police Capt. Don Smith said.

Although Wieneke stated in a news release that descriptions of Rehkop and his truck were similar in all three locations, she said she cannot confirm that the incidents are definitely related.

Authorities aren't certain about what might have been Rehkop's motives, but Smith said Rehkop had been having marital issues.

According to court records, Rehkop's wife filed for divorce in 2007, and the marriage was dissolved in January 2008.

Records show that from 2009 to 2010, Rehkop and his wife, Diane, had been in court fighting over child support payments.

None of these events are connected to the sexual assault reported outside Laws Hall early Tuesday morning, Wieneke said.


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