Wichita family mourns pregnant teen’s death

Three suspects in custody after 14-year-old's body found in rural area

? Three suspects were being held Saturday in the killing of a pregnant teenager whose body was found in a shallow grave.

Police identified Friday a body found in a Butler County field as that of 14-year-old Chelsea Ann Brooks, of Wichita, who had been missing for nearly a week. Her unborn child – which the family had named Alexa Lynn Brooks – was due July 4.

Three suspects were being held, authorities said, including a male who friends and family of the victim said had a relationship with the girl. No charges had been filed, but the victim’s mother vowed to seek justice for her daughter’s killer.

“Two lives were taken from us last week and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that the law, in the future, recognizes all life, even if it is too late for our girls,” Terri Brooks said at a news conference Saturday in front of Allison Middle School, where her daughter had been a student.

Kansas courts cannot charge as murder the death of a fetus, Sedgwick County Dist. Atty. Nola Foulston said, citing a case decided 10 years ago. In the wake of that case, the Legislature enacted a law allowing prosecution for injury to a pregnant woman. However, that would be trumped by any homicide charges that would be filed in the mother’s death, she said.

“Certainly we respect their privacy, but we are also working with them so they fully understand what the system of justice provides,” Foulston said. “It may not provide for exactly the remedy one wishes to have. The issue is still up in the air for the death of an unborn child.”

Terri Brooks, mother of 14-year-old Chelsea Brooks, whose body was found earlier this week, speaks to the media at a news conference in Wichita. Behind her are, from left, a family friend who would not identify herself, Chelsea's half-brother Matthew, Darren Brooks and Evan Brooks, holding Chelsea's photo.

Foulston said Saturday the investigation was continuing and the case had not yet been presented to the district attorney’s office for prosecution. Her office has been in contact with the family.

Chelsea was reported missing June 9 after she disappeared from Skate South in Wichita, where she had gone with some friends. No Amber Alert was issued because police initially thought she was a runaway and suspected no foul play until the girl’s body was found Thursday. Police earlier this week asked community members for their help finding the missing pregnant teenager.

In a brief statement to reporters, Terri Brooks thanked the community members for their support, particularly for those who pushed for a more intense search for Chelsea.

“We knew Chelsea wasn’t just another runaway,” Terri Brooks said.