The murder of four middle-aged white men along Kansas City’s Indian Creek Trail System has gotten the attention of the police and the media, the media only after the fourth killing.
The Kansas City Police Department said on Friday there were “obvious similarities” in the cases. The first of the four killings occurred in August, the most recent this past Thursday.
August 19, 2016 – John W. Palmer, 55, East Bannister Road, Lydia Avenue
February 27, 2017 – David Lennox, 66, 9939 Walnut Street
April 4, 2017 – Timothy S. Rice, 57, 1601 East Red Bridge Road
May 18, 2017 – Michael Darby, 373 West 101st Street Terrace
“There are no similarities in the evidence,” clarified KCPD’s Sgt. Kari Thompson. “But there are similarities in the demographics.”
41 KSHB spoke with retired homicide veteran Sgt. Dave Bernard. “A serial case is one of the most difficult cases to work,” he told reporter Lexi Stutter. “A lot of times if you go back in the past looking for lesser crimes in that area, you may be able to turn up something. Let’s say attempted robbery, attempted rape, something of that nature and in some of those early cases maybe the suspect has already been identified.”
Although white men would seem to be most at risk, all those who use this popular trailway have be asking themselves whether they ought to continue. “I would say, let’s stop the daily routine if it involves going into this particular area until police have made an arrest or until they say it’s safe,” said Bernard. “You can go back, but I certainly wouldn’t do it in this geographical area knowing there is somebody on the loose.”
The police have published the instrument of death only in the case of David Lennox, who was shot. The KCPD is presumably withholding that information for evidentiary reasons. The apparent absence of similarities in evidence argues against a single killer. That absence, combined with the fact that all victims are white men, raises the specter perhaps of some sort of gang initiation. Neither possibility is reassuring.