About 40 law enforcement officers Tuesday began tracking down leads and searching a rural area in northwest Franklin County where a homicide victim was discovered Monday afternoon.
Children discovered the body of a man shortly before 2 p.m. while riding their bicycles in a weeded area behind an abandoned house in the 1600 block of Shawnee Road, Sheriff Craig Davis said.
Franklin County Sheriff's and Ottawa Police officers went to the area and began a search, Davis said.
Investigators have determined the identity of the victim, but had not released it Tuesday pending notification of relatives, Davis said. He identified the victim only as a 39-year-old white male.
Davis requested assistance from the regional Major Case Squad, which brought in officers from Douglas, Shawnee and Jefferson counties. The Kansas Bur-eau of Investigation is also assisting the investigation.
"They're continuing to search and talking to residents in the area," Davis said. "It's rural area, a fairly quiet area."
Shawnee Road is a well-traveled gravel road, but the body was too far away to be seen from it, Davis said.
The body was taken to Frontier Forensics in Topeka where an autopsy was performed Monday night. Although a specific cause of death hasn't been released, it is a homicide, Davis said. He declined to say whether officers found a possible weapon in the area where the body was found.
The children who found the body, three girls and a boy, ranged in age from 9 to 15, Davis said. They informed a parent about their find.
Davis also asked the public for help in solving the crime.
"If anyone was in the area over the weekend and might have seen someone suspicious or a vehicle parked off the roadway, we're hoping they'll call," he said.
Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call one of these three numbers: (800) KS-CRIME; Franklin County Crime Stoppers, (888) 311-8477; or the sheriff's office at (785) 242-3802.