The investigation into the murder of an 18-year-old Independence, Mo., man continued full force today after authorities received information late Friday about the reason the man came to Lawrence.
Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson said authorities Friday were considering disbanding a 16-member mini-squad investigating the death but decided to keep the squad together after receiving the information.
Anderson said the information was a "crack as opposed to a break" in the murder of Timothy Ridpath, the man whose body was discovered Oct. 2 lying beside a car on a gravel road in northern Douglas County.
Anderson this morning was tight-lipped about what had been learned, saying only that it gave investigators "information about the victim's activity in the Lawrence area." The sheriff would not say what that activity was and would not divulge the source of the information.
As a consequence, though, investigators have their first clue of what Ridpath was doing in Lawrence on Oct. 1, the night he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Anderson said the information came at an excellent time.
Friday, he said, "We were thinking we were probably at the end of our rope for the time being. We stumbled around all last week and couldn't find out why (Ridpath) was down here."
Anderson said it's too early to tell what impact the information may have on the investigation. He said it "looks encouraging," but would not estimate how much closer investigators now are to solving the case. He said investigators still have no motive and no suspect.
Ridpath was last seen alive about 6 p.m. Oct. 1 near his Independence, Mo., home. Until Friday, investigators said they had uncovered no ties Ridpath may have had to the Lawrence area or what he was doing while he was here.
In a related matter Friday, Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jim Flory announced that he had opened an inquisition into Ridpath's murder. Flory said he was seeking documents that would provide background information on the man.
An inquisition is not a single hearing but an ongoing process that is closed to the public. Subpeonas in the matter will be issued through Flory by the court.