Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

Identity of body still a mystery

Sheriff looks to DNA tests for answers; investigation waits

May 25, 2001

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Six weeks after the discovery of a body northwest of Lecompton, a basic piece of information continues to elude the Douglas County Sheriff's Department in its investigation: Who is the victim?

Sheriff Rick Trapp said Thursday that dental records weren't enough to confirm the identity of the body, which was found April 13 along the east side of East 225 Road a quarter mile south of North 2190 Road.

That meant the department had to turn to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to conduct DNA test results on the body in hopes of finding out its identity.

Trapp said eight homicides during December in Wichita created an unusually large workload for the Topeka KBI lab.

"I'm not critical of the KBI lab at all," Trapp said. "They've done good work for us, and they'll do good work for us on this one. It just takes time."

But the investigation is on hold until the body can be identified. Trapp said the KBI had received information leading Douglas County deputies to the body. The two agencies will continue to work together on the case, he said.

Trapp said he didn't know whether the delayed lab work would affect the investigation.

"It's hard to say right now," he said. "I feel confident we'll be able to work with the KBI and conduct a thorough investigation."

Larry Thomas, a KBI special agent, said the autopsy was finished but not all the reports have been completed. It was conducted by Frontier Forensics of Topeka, which contracts with several northeast Kansas counties including Douglas County for coroner services.

Thomas said he didn't know how much longer the lab results should take.

"The process can take awhile," he said. "But it is a priority it doesn't have to wait in line. We don't rush them."

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