The victims had no way of knowing that the Indian Creek Trail could be deadly. Most people still do not.

On Thursday, popular restauranteur Mike Darby was found murdered along the Indian Creek Trail just east of State Line Road in south Kansas City. He was the fourth middle-aged white man murdered on or near the trail in the last nine months. Three of the four were walking their dogs at the time of the murder.

In August, 54-year-old John Palmer was found along the Indian Creek Trail at Bannister Road and Lydia Avenue. Police did not disclose details of how he was murdered.

In February, David Lenox was shot and killed while walking his dogs on the grounds of the Willow Creek Apartment just north of the trail off Wornall. Of the four, his is the only case in which the police have disclosed the manner in which he was killed.

57-year-old man Timothy S. Rice of Excelsior Spring was found dead inside a shelter at Minor Park alongside the Blue River about two miles south of its intersection with Indian Creek.

Of the first three murders, Lenox’s death was the only one to merit more than a perfunctory paragraph or two in the Kansas City Star, and that was due to the persistence of his children in seeking information about his death. Lenox had served two tours in Vietnam as a medic only to be killed yards from his front door.

As the Sentinel commented at the time of the Lenox murder, the Star dedicated no fewer than 40 articles to the shooting death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian national killed in an Olathe bar. From the media’s perspective that death had more political value. However tortuously, media outlets around the world held President Donald Trump accountable for the Olathe slaying.

The police see “obvious similarities” in the four Indian Creek deaths, but they are not yet willing to attribute the four killings to one source. To its credit, the Star reported that the victims were “all white men between the ages of 54 and 67.” Had the paper acknowledged a pattern after the third death, however, there might not have been a fourth.

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