Friday, October 24, 2014

'Nothing worse than killing an innocent baby'

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Staff Writer | 5/9/2013

Kyle Flack, 27, was arrested about 5 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of first degree murder in connection with a triple homicide in rural Ottawa, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards said at a press conference late Thursday morning. Richards also said the homicide count now is presumed to be four.

An audible gasp went up from concerned residents huddled behind media when Richards told reporters about 11 a.m. Thursday that Lana Bailey, the 18-month-old daughter of the late Kaylie Bailey, 21, is presumed dead. Her death is being considered a homicide.

“Based on information developed overnight, we believe Lana is presumed to be a victim of homicide,” Richards said during the press conference outside his office at 305 S. Main St., Ottawa.

The sheriff declined to offer specific details about what changed the toddler’s status from missing child to homicide victim.

“I don’t want to see anybody killed, but if Flack is convicted of killing that baby, he should get the death penalty,” Kathy Sheler, Ottawa resident, said. “As a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, it just makes me want to cry. There is nothing worse than killing an innocent baby.”

Outside law enforcement agencies from across the area and region are continuing to assist with the search for Lana’s body, Richards said. He said officers could be brought in on ATVs and mounted on horseback to assist with the search, depending on where the information leads authorities to believe Lana’s body is located. Canine units also have been used in the search, he said.

“This is a very large crime scene,” Richards said of the 4.7-acre tract of land at 3197 Georgia Road where three adult bodies were found Monday and Tuesday. “It can be hard sometimes to find an adult on a farmstead, so you can imagine this [search for a small child] will continue to be a very difficult.”

In addition to finding Lana’s body, Richards said another top priority will be to continue to follow up on tips coming in on the investigation. He would not comment on if law enforcement officials are looking at other possible suspects in the case.

The bodies discovered at the Georgia Road property, west of Ottawa, were those of Kaylie Bailey, Olathe, Andrew Stout, Ottawa, and Steve White, Ottawa, Richards said Wednesday afternoon. Bailey, along with Lana, was reported missing May 3. Stout, 30, and White, 31, reportedly hadn’t been seen since April 25.

Bailey and her daughter were last seen at the Georgia Road residence, the sheriff’s office said previously, where Stout and White had lived with Flack. Bailey reportedly was in a relationship with Stout. Her body was found Monday in a detached garage on the property. The two men were found Monday and Tuesday in the home, according to the sheriff’s office. Frontier Forensics began conducting autopsies on the three bodies at 6 p.m. Tuesday to determine a cause or manner of death for each of the bodies.

Authorities had been searching for Flack, as well as a black 2007 Toyota Corolla he allegedly was driving. The vehicle was recovered 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Emporia. Flack later was located at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Richards said, though he declined to specify where Flack was found. A person familiar with the Flack family said Flack’s mother lives in Emporia. The vehicle had been last seen with Bailey and her daughter at the farm.

Flack was convicted in 2005 of intentional attempted murder in the second degree, according to Franklin County Court documents. He was paroled in 2009 after serving less than four years for the May 2005 Ottawa shooting of Steven Dale Free, then-47. Free was found in the yard near a mobile home at Third and Cherry streets after being shot five times with a small caliber gun, according to Herald archives. Free survived the incident, but died in December 2011.

Shawn Bailey, Lana’s father, is held in an unrelated case in the Laclede County Jail in Lebanon, Mo., on two bonds of $50,000 each in relation to receiving stolen property, burglary and probation violation, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. He arrived at the jail Jan. 17, 2013.

Individuals with information about the triple homicide discovery, the 2007 Carolla or the location of Lana Bailey’s body are encouraged to call the Franklin County Crime Stoppers at (888) 311-TIPS or (888) 311-8477, submit a tip through Franklin County Crime Stopper’s Facebook account, text tip to 274637 (begin text with keyword “Franklin”) or online at www.tipsoft.com. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Franklin County Crime Stoppers pays as much as $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of any person or persons committing a crime in Franklin County.Tina Briggs, an Ottawa resident who attended the press conference with friend Sheler, said they would be willing to help search for Lana, and said other residents also would like to help look for her body.

“We’re Ottawans, and Ottawans help each other and care about each other,” Briggs said. “I want to do whatever I can to help.”

Richards said he appreciated the community’s interest in helping with the search but said private citizens would not be called upon to assist law enforcement officers at this time.

More that 40 detectives from various agencies have been participating in the investigation.  

“We are still treating the [Georgia Road] property as a crime scene, and we are still collecting evidence from the scene and would not want to do anything that might taint that evidence,” he said.

The arrest came as the result of overnight interviews and other developments in the case. Flack did not have an attorney Thursday morning, Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said. Hunting said he expected to soon file formal charges in the case.

Richards declined to discuss a motive for the killings, the manner in which the homicides took place or how long the victims had been deceased.

“We are following up on every lead,” Richards said. “I don’t want to give out any information that might impede the investigation.”

The sheriff said investigators have received hundreds of tips in the case since the first body was discovered and reported about 12:15 p.m. Monday.

Asked if he will seek the death penalty in his prosecution of the case, Hunting said he was not ready to make such a choice without all the case’s information.

“We are still gathering all kinds of information,” Hunting said at the Thursday morning press conference.“We’re not prepared to say one way or the other yet [whether Franklin County will seek the death penalty] because we have a tremendous amount of information still coming in. That is not a determination that we want to make until [we have] all the facts and information that we believe are a part of the investigation. ... We’ll need to have [formal charges against Flack] on file in 48 hours.

“Until this morning, when he was arrested, he was not in custody on Franklin County charges or anything of that nature,” Hunting said. “[Flack] was being held on charges out of a different jurisdiction for a different matter entirely. I believe it was Osage County.”

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