Lawrence police: One man dead following stabbing on Arkansas Street

Police followed trail of blood from Sixth Street restaurant to nearby home

Lawrence police believe a fatal stabbing early the morning of May 25, 2015, occurred in or near a home in the 700 block of Arkansas Street, Sgt. Trent McKinley said in a news release.

One man is dead following a stabbing Monday morning in the 700 block of Arkansas Street, Lawrence police said.

Shortly after 6 a.m., police and medical personnel went to the parking lot of the McDonald’s at 1309 W. Sixth St. after a 911 caller reported a person outside the restaurant was bleeding, Lawrence police Sgt. Trent McKinley said in a news release.

The man, in his 40s, was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he later died, McKinley said. McKinley said Monday evening that the homicide victim will not be publicly identified until after an autopsy is completed, which could take days.

The crime is being investigated as a homicide because of the victim’s injuries, McKinley said. Investigators believe the crime occurred at or near a home in the 700 block of Arkansas Street, he said.

A home at 700 Arkansas St. was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape Monday. The tape extended north to a yard across the street, blocking westbound and eastbound traffic on Seventh Street.

Chris Chavez, who lives nearby, said he woke up to sirens around 6:10 a.m. Monday and went to his front porch. Chavez said he saw a man slumped against a streetlight on the east side of the McDonald’s parking lot before medics arrived and loaded the man into an ambulance. Chavez said the man never moved.

Chavez and McKinley said that officers identified the home as the crime scene after following a blood trail from the McDonald’s leading to the residence. It appeared that the victim had run from the home to the restaurant.

Numbered evidence markers were strewn throughout the yard at 700 Arkansas St. Two evidence tags marked a pair of black sandals that appeared to have slipped off a person moving in a northeastern direction.

Rain Monday morning added an extra obstacle to the investigation. Chavez said it appeared that officers had used turned-over trashcans and plastic to attempt to preserve blood evidence in the area.

The property is registered to Sue B. Radcliffe, of Lawrence, according to the Douglas County Appraiser’s Office online records.

The home was the subject of a search warrant in October 2013, when then-23-year-old Hunter Radcliffe Wheeler was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges of distributing methamphetamine and criminal possession of a handgun. In 2014, Wheeler pleaded guilty to the charges.

Officers had discovered five grams of methamphetamine and various paraphernalia inside the home, along with a Glock 9mm handgun with a loaded magazine. Wheeler had 87 grams of meth when he was arrested. McKinley said it is unclear whether the 2013 drug bust and the Monday homicide are related.

Around 5 p.m. Monday, forensic investigators searched a white SUV parked in front of the residence. Some items were collected from the vehicle, and a detective dusted the doors for fingerprints.

This is Lawrence’s first homicide of 2015. The last homicide in Lawrence happened more than six months ago inside an apartment at 1727 W. 24th St. No arrests had been made as of Monday evening, and McKinley said a motive had not been identified.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509 or CrimeStoppers at 785-843-TIPS (8477), McKinley said. Calls made to CrimeStoppers can be made anonymously. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by CrimeStoppers for information leading to an arrest in this case.