Archive for Sunday, July 27, 2014

Police identify homicide victim as 56-year-old East Lawrence woman

July 27, 2014, 12:20 p.m. Updated July 28, 2014, 7:09 p.m.

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Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo
Lawrence police investigators dust for prints on a trash barrel in the backyard of a house in the 1100 block of New York Street during an investigation with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers Sunday morning, July 27, 2014.

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo Lawrence police investigators dust for prints on a trash barrel in the backyard of a house in the 1100 block of New York Street during an investigation with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers Sunday morning, July 27, 2014.

In this Journal-World photo from March 2003, Christine Kaplan holds a framed portrait of her son, Sean Heskew. Heskew, then 22, was stationed in the Persian Gulf with the Marines. "This is a parent&squot;s worst nightmare," Kaplan said in 2003, shortly before the U.S. launched its first invasion into Iraq. Police were dispatched to her home in the 1100 block of New York Street early Saturday afternoon to investigate a body found on the premises. Police are considering the death a homicide.

In this Journal-World photo from March 2003, Christine Kaplan holds a framed portrait of her son, Sean Heskew. Heskew, then 22, was stationed in the Persian Gulf with the Marines. "This is a parent's worst nightmare," Kaplan said in 2003, shortly before the U.S. launched its first invasion into Iraq. Police were dispatched to her home in the 1100 block of New York Street early Saturday afternoon to investigate a body found on the premises. Police are considering the death a homicide.

Lawrence police have identified Christine Kaplan, 56, of Lawrence, as the victim of a homicide that was discovered Saturday in East Lawrence.

Douglas County property records indicate Kaplan was the owner of the home at 1117 New York St., where her body was found and where police have been investigating for the past three days.

Stunned neighbors recalled Kaplan as someone who was known for her generosity and the compassion she showed to others.

One neighbor, Shannan Garrett, said she last saw Kaplan on Thursday or Friday. Garrett said Kaplan often provided shelter to people “who needed a place to stay.” She said a man had been staying in the house for several weeks.

“She took everybody in,” Garrett said.

Kaplan’s kindhearted nature extended beyond humans, said one friend. She loved animals too and always had “a bazillion cats” around her home, said Terry Manies, of Lawrence.

Terry Manies met Kaplan five years ago when she and her husband were looking for barn cats to adopt. A friend of Manies introduced her to Kaplan, who gave her “two wonderful cats” that have since become beloved fixtures in the Manies’ home.

“Her generosity gave us a debt of friendship that we would never be able to repay,” Manies said.

That same generosity sometimes “bit her,” Manies said.

She described Kaplan as the kind of person who would want to help anyone, even those who might not be worthy of her trust.

“I think she’d been through quite a bit in life, and that made her want to open up as opposed to shut down,” Manies said. “She really did think everybody was a good person.”

In 2003, Kaplan was featured in a Journal-World article that detailed the anxieties of civilians in Lawrence with the onset of the Iraq War.

Kaplan’s son, Sean Heskew, was stationed in the Persian Gulf with his Marine unit at the time. Less than a month before U.S. troops launched the invasion of Iraq, Kaplan told a Journal-World reporter that the constant worrying made it difficult to sleep at night.

“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Kaplan said in the 2003 article. “I’m just beside myself.”

Assembling care packages for her son — often including extra items for his Marine comrades — provided a distracting relief.

Kaplan even co-founded a local support group for parents of children in the military.

But on Monday evening, Kaplan’s property remained surrounded by crime-scene tape, with a forensics truck parked outside and investigators working inside the home.

Though KBI vehicles had left the scene Monday morning, Fellers said investigators may continue work there for several days. The investigation has proceeded “very slowly and methodically,” Fellers said, as circumstances surrounding the death were not available for more than a day after authorities were called to the scene.

The coroner did not examine the body until late Saturday night, when it was determined that a homicide had occurred, Fellers said.

This is the seventh homicide in Lawrence since July 2013.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Lawrence Police Department at 832-7509 or Douglas County CrimeStoppers at 843-8477.

Elliot Hughes contributed to this report.

Comments

James Garrett 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is so sad, Chris loved all our kids and would help out anyone. She was ill and my girls would check up on her everyday,. You will be missed Chrissy

Terry Manies 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Chris gave my husband us two of our most beloved cats. We will be forever grateful to her for Minnie and Hilly. She was a Good person. So sad...

Scott Logan 11 months, 1 week ago

The level of crime and inhumanity is becoming more frequent and violent

James Garvey 11 months, 1 week ago

Ms Kaplan appears to be a loving, caring person and this is the thanks she gets?

Leslie Swearingen 11 months, 1 week ago

My thing is that you have to use discernment as to who you are loving and caring to and how you express that. I have the feeling that in the Bible we have the bare bones of what Jesus said about this subject and that he said a lot more that we will never know.

The story of the camel who slowly took over the tent might be more applicable.

Christine Anderson 11 months, 1 week ago

God I hope the correct person(s) are found, tried, and convicted. This is one Democrat who favors the death penalty for this sort of crime!

Elizabeth Stancliffe 11 months, 1 week ago

Any information out there about how she was killed?

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