2 weeks after bodies found in eastern Lawrence, authorities release no further details, suppress death reports

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

A police car blocks off the entrance to Oak Hill Cemetery Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, 2022, as officials investigate two shooting deaths that occurred there.

Updated at 11 a.m. Nov. 30

Two weeks after two bodies were found at Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence police have released no new details on an incident that they indicated may have been a murder-suicide.

Autopsy reports for both individuals, which could shed more light on the incident, have been suppressed pending a law enforcement investigation, according to Lauren McDaniel with Forensic Medical, meaning the reports cannot be released to the public by order of law enforcement.

On the morning of Nov. 16, two bodies were found at Lawrence’s Oak Hill Cemetery. Investigators indicated then that the deaths may have been a case of murder-suicide. Later that day, they identified the deceased as Ana Marie Jessee, 22, of Lawrence, and Robert Sowders, 36, of Overland Park.

Lawrence Police Department spokeswoman Laura McCabe told the Journal-World at the time that the two had died of gunshot wounds, but police have released no additional details since confirming their initial suspicion or indicating what may have led to a murder.

According to a GoFundMe page to raise funds for funeral expenses, Jessee, whose funeral was Saturday, was “a talented violinist.” The page, created by a family member, says: “On November 16, 2022, our beautiful, spirited daughter, Ana Maria Jessee, age 22, and her unborn child were taken from us.”

According to an obituary for Sowders, whose funeral was Monday, he was a U.S. Army veteran who had been deployed to multiple combat zones. “While in combat, Robert was wounded and was awarded the Purple Heart. Ultimately, the physical and mental injuries he sustained in combat were carried with him through his life,” the obituary said. He is survived by a wife and two children.


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