Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Major case squad' disbanding, search for toddler continues

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/11/2013

The whereabouts of an 18-month-old victim in a quadruple homicide discovered Monday west of Ottawa remained unknown Saturday.

Search teams continued to scour the countryside between a rural farm west of Ottawa and Emporia Saturday for Lana Bailey, who is presumed dead, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards told reporters at a 4 p.m. press conference Saturday.

The whereabouts of an 18-month-old victim in a quadruple homicide discovered Monday west of Ottawa remained unknown Saturday.

Search teams continued to scour the countryside between a rural farm west of Ottawa and Emporia Saturday for Lana Bailey, who is presumed dead, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards told reporters at a 4 p.m. press conference Saturday.

The Major Case Squad, with more than 40 detectives from numerous area law enforcement agencies, will no longer be on the case after Saturday, Richards said, and those detectives will be returning to their normal duties with their respective agencies.

The bodies discovered Monday and Tuesday at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa, were those of Lana’s mother, Kaylie Bailey, 21, Andrew Stout, 30, and Steven White, 31, Richards told reporters Wednesday during a press conference. Kaylie Bailey and her daughter were reported missing May 3. Stout and White reportedly hadn’t been seen since April 25.

As day six of the investigation began to wind down Saturday, Richards said the massive search for Lana has taken a toll on all the people involved, mentally and physically. Some searchers have had to seek medical attention, Richards said, because they had to put themselves at risk to investigate some difficult locations.

“We have had dive teams out today searching ponds, and Wildlife and Parks has had boats out on rivers and streams using sonar to search for baby Lana,” Richards said.

Kyle Flack, the 27-year-old man who stands accused of the killings, made his first court appearance 4 p.m. Friday in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa. He is charged with two counts of capital murder, four counts of murder in the first degree, one count of rape and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, filed the charges against Flack Friday afternoon. The capital murder charges are eligible for the death penalty. Hunting said Friday he has not yet made a determination if he would seek the death penalty if Flack was convicted of the capital murder crimes.

Richards said the search for Lana would continue.

“We are hopeful every time we go out, this will be the spot, but so far we have not been able to locate her,” Richards said. “Obviously, it’s a very large area between here and Emporia, and there are multiple routes to get there. We are confident that she is not on the [Georgia Road] property, or she would have been found by now.”

With the resources having to be scaled back as assisting officers from area agencies return to their normal duties, Richards said the searches will have to be more targeted in the future — based on the more than 400 tips that have come in on the case and through the use of video footage from FBI planes and helicopters from other agencies that have been involved in the search.

“The video footage helps us identify some areas that will need to be searched,” he said. “We have not exhausted our search efforts yet.”

Richards thanked all the area law enforcement agencies, the state and federal agencies and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit for their assistance in the investigation. He said the Johnson County crime lab continues to provide investigators with valuable forensics evidence.

The sheriff declined to discuss with reporters Saturday the manner of death or if investigators had established what day the victims died.

Flack is charged with one count of capital murder in connection with three homicides — Stout, Bailey and Lana — that law enforcement officials think were committed as part of the same act or two or more acts connected together, according to the criminal complaint. White was believed to haven been murdered at an earlier time, authorities said.

The other count of capital murder was filed in connection with the rape and murder of Kaylie Bailey, according to the three-page criminal complaint Hunting filed Friday.

“The rape charge goes to facts and information of what evidence shows happened at that particular house,” Hunting said. “That’s what brought forth the rape charges.”

Hunting said a firearm was used during the commission of the crimes.

“A firearm was used in this case, but no specific detail on the cause or manner of death,” Hunting told reporters Friday afternoon. “A firearm was used against all the victims.”

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 about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday outside Franklin County, reportedly in the Emporia area. The vehicle had been last seen with Bailey and her daughter at the farm.

An Ottawa woman acquainted with Flack’s family said his mother lives in Emporia.

At Flack’s first court appearance Friday, District Judge Eric Godderz appointed Topeka attorney Ronald Evans to represent the defendant and set Flack’s bond at $10 million. Flack’s next court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in Franklin County District Court.

More than 400 people gathered Friday night for a vigil in remembrance of the victims of the quadruple homicide.

The vigil, an event organized by several local community members, was at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa, and featured the favorite songs of Bailey, Stout and White.

Eric Scrutchfield, who emceed, said Friday the vigil started out as an idea, which quickly grew into a community event.

“It was literally a thought, and within 30 minutes it snowballed on us,” he said. “We expected 40 friends to show up, and the last time I checked we have over 400. Franklin County is an amazing place, and in the midst of everything, we will come together, and we will love. Tonight is going to be a mission of prayer. We’re going to open our hearts.”

In front of a video slideshow with pictures of the victims, organizers spelled out the word “Love” with tea light candles, which several family members helped light.

The Rev. Scott Dickinson, pastor at the Cherry Street Wesleyan Church and the chaplain for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, gave the opening prayer, encouraging people to lean on each other and look for the light during a difficult time.

Richards said investigators are still interested in any tips or leads the public can provide them.

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 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.

Herald staff writers Meagan Patton-Paulson and Abby Crosthwait contributed to this report.

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