1994 SDGOP Congressional Candidate Jan Berkhout suffers terrible family tragedy as daughter is murdered by husband. Go Fund Me page up to help the family.

When I originally read it in the news….

A woman who was killed on Tuesday allegedly died at the hands of her husband, according to court documents filed Thursday.

At approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday, Mitchell police officers responded to a 911 call claiming a woman was not breathing. Upon arrival, they found 36-year-old Marie Brinker deceased, a victim of suffocation, according to court documents.

Read that here.

…I hadn’t realized it, but apparently the victim was the daughter of 1994 GOP Congressional Candidate Jan Berkhout, who unsuccessfully ran against Democrat Tim Johnson.  Berkhout, a professor at USD, and the current Clay County GOP Committeeman has started a Go Fund Me page to help cover funeral costs for his daughter, as well as to help provide for his grandchildren’s future education:

On the evening of October 17th, 2017 Mimi Berkhout/Brinker was murdered by her husband in the City of Mitchell, South Dakota. After years of struggling against domestic violence, numerous police contacts and arrests, and with a five year protection order in place against her husband, she was unable to obtain the safety she sought for herself and her children.

James Brinker was arrested for the murder of his wife Mimi on that devastating night. The remainder of details are far too devastating to place here, so the news articles are provided below.

Mimi is survived by her three children, her mother Barbara Berkhout, and her father Jan Berkhout, as well as two brothers.

For years Mr. and Mrs. Berkhout have financially and emotionally supported their beloved daughter and adored grandchildren especially as Mimi struggled with MS most of her life. Even being in their late 70’s to early 80’s in age, they have driven to Mitchell from Vermillion, South Dakota every single weekend in order to be involved with their grandchildren as much as possible. They continued to make this trip, even though they suffered a disastrous house fire in Vermillion earlier this year.

It is the extremely heartfelt and expressed wishes of one of the boys that Mimi receive a proper burial, so he went out with his grandpa Jan to find the right place for her.

This situation is a financial hardship for the family and with the ongoing circumstances the future of the children is unknown.

This fund will go toward the funeral costs as well as the care of the family. If enough money is raised to cover the costs of the funeral as well as providing for the three children in whatever their new living situations become, Jan and Barbara will be placing the remainder into a college fund for the children to be split evenly.

Dates for the funeral, as well as regular updates will be provided throughout this emotionally and spiritually arduous process. 

KeloLand News Article 1
KeloLand News Article 2
Mitchell Daily Republic

Please keep Jan and his family in your prayers as they are going through this unimaginable tragedy.  You can read updates, and Contribute to the Go Fund Me page here.  

6 Replies to “1994 SDGOP Congressional Candidate Jan Berkhout suffers terrible family tragedy as daughter is murdered by husband. Go Fund Me page up to help the family.”

  1. Thomas

    WHY would they start a gofundme page? EVERYONE is asking someone else for money these days. I had throat cancer and wouldn’t even allow my church to announce it, much less ask for other peoples’ hard earned money for it. And it was expensive! If a person wants to give, fine. But a gofundme page for every problem that crops up…..

  2. Pat Powers Post author

    I would ask that you please have some compassion as the children try to muster the resources to bury their mother, with their father standing accused of murdering her.

    I suspect the family is going this route because there is just a small family circle that knows about the victim’s relationship to Jan, and they’re trying to cast a wider net to try to provide something for the future of these children – the other victims of this tragic situation.

  3. SPM

    Many people look for arenas to give. It’s a blessing for them. There may be an unknown connection to the tragedy that someone can empathize with. I would say if you don’t want to give don’t. But don’t rob that blessing from someone else. It’s a choice…praying the peace that surpasses understanding for this family.

  4. Troy Jones

    My heart and prayers go to Mimi’s family as they first face the reality she is gone and then try to live with a hole in their heart that nothing or nobody will ever fill. By the Mercy of God, may Mimi rest in Peace.


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