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Archive for Friday, September 18, 1992

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION SHIFTS FOCUS TO LAWRENCE

September 18, 1992

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Investigation into the slaying of a man whose body was found in the Wakarusa River south of Topeka has moved into Douglas County.

James Campbell, an investigator with the Capital Area Major Case Squad, today said authorities have moved the focus of their investigation to Lawrence and Douglas County. He said investigators plan to contact local residents who reportedly have information about the homicide.

Campbell would not identify the residents but said they had called investigators to offer information.

"Some residents called in saying they had information and, as a common courtesy, we follow up on that," he said.

The body was discovered Sunday, and the Major Case Squad, or M-Squad, was called into the case Monday. Authorities said the victim was shot to death and tied to a 45-pound beam before being thrown into the river.

The victim's teeth were pulled, making the use of dental records to identify the victim impossible. There also are other complications in identifying the victim.

The decomposing body was in the water seven to 10 days. The victim may have had tattoos on both upper arms, but the tattoos are unidentifiable because of the body's condition.

Authorities have not said whether they were able to obtain fingerprints from the body.

The description of the victim has been matched against those of every missing person in Topeka, Shawnee County and surrounding areas. All have been ruled out.

Information about the victim has been sent to Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratories for analysis, and work was being done at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab in Topeka. Officials at Kansas State University were analyzing bone samples to estimate the victim's age.

Investigators said the victim was white, 20 to 40 years old, 5-feet-9 and 160 pounds. He had brown hair and a surgical scar on his abdomen where his appendix had been removed.

Campbell said identifying the body remains investigators' primary goal.

Campbell said investigators have no idea whether the victim was a Lawrence man.

A total of eight officers from the Lawrence Police Department, the Kansas University Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department are working with the M-Squad on the case, Campbell said.

He urged anyone who has information about the death to call the M-Squad at 232-2763 or 232-2958.

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