Credit goes to the Hays Post for answering the obvious question that Kansas City media were reluctant to ask: what was the race of the fifth male in the last ten months to have been murdered on or near a South Kansas City walking trail? Like the four victims before him, Chase Hardin was white.
According to his Facebook page, Hardin, 31, hailed from Clarksville, Tennessee, went to Hickman Mills High School, was married, and lived in east Kansas City. He has worked for various tow truck operations. His last Facebook post, from May 17, reads as follows, “Check out what I’m selling on letgo: 36 inch sanyo computer monitor and tv: 380.00 new need money fast.”
That post may hold a clue as to why Kansas City police insist Hardin’s death is unrelated to the other four, all middle-aged, three of whom were walking their dogs at the time of their death. What distinguished Hardin was not only his youth, but also his criminal record. According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, Hardin had been convicted of burglary, felony possession of controlled substances and theft.
Hardin’s body was found Monday morning along the very end of the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail in south Kansas City. The other four were found along the Indian Creek trailway and its tributaries about a mile or south. These are racially mixed working/middle class neighborhoods with little history of violence.
The FBI has joined the case, reportedly to lend the Bureau’s advanced technology to the cause, but the case may eventually span state lines. The Indian Creek trailway begins in Kansas. Although all four victims were found on the Missouri side, none was located more than a couple miles from the state line.
The race of the victims may have nothing to do with their deaths, but the media’s failure to speak honestly about crime when the victims are white can, unfortunately, create more victims.