There is no denying that Kansas is a beautiful, peaceful state full of (mostly) good people. However, like all states, we have seen our fair share of bad, including these 10 infamous Kansas homicides that won’t soon be forgotten.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Bender Family
The notorious "Bloody Benders" were a German immigrant family who owned both a general store and small inn in the early 1870s in Labette County. Legend has it that the family of four gruesomely murdered at least 11 patrons, scattering the bodies throughout their property and county. When word spread that the mysterious tourist disappearances may be linked to the Bender family, they fled town, never to be heard from again.
2. "In Cold Blood"
In the early morning hours of November 15, 1959, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith entered the Holcomb home of the Clutter family with the intention of robbing a safe rumored to contain more than $10,000 in cash. Upon finding no such safe, Hickock and Smith murdered the four members of the Clutter family before fleeing to Las Vegas. The murders inspired Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood."
3. Richard Grissom Jr.
Johnson County was rocked in 1989 when reports of three missing women made the news. While their bodies were never found, Richard Grisson Jr. admitted to/was convicted in all three's disappearance and murder. He is currently serving a life sentence and will not be eligible for parole until 2093.
4. Duane Earl Pope
Even though the crime itself was committed in Nebraska, we still have to mention Duane Earl Pope, a Kansas native who was charged and convicted of killing four in "one of the bloodiest bank robberies in modern times." Both the crimes and the trial occurred in 1965, and Pope to-this-day remains at USP Leavenworth.
Between 1974 to 1991, the B.T.K. (Bind, Torture, Kill) Killer tormented Sedgwick County through a series of heinous murders. After his tenth murder in 1991, B.T.K. was suddenly silent, only to reemerge in 2004, leading to the arrest and conviction of Dennis Rader. He is currently serving ten life sentences at the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
6. "Murder Ordained"
One of the most baffling (and famous) Kansas murders is that of Sandy Bird, an Emporia pastor's wife whose body was found floating in the Cottonwood River in 1983. The death was originally ruled a car accident, but was later revisited after the body of Pastor Bird's lover's husband was found shot to death along a Geary County highway. The murders inspired the 1987 television mini-series, "Murder Ordained" (pictured).
7. Doil Lane
The Wichita community was once again taken aback when the body of 9-year-old Nancy Shoemaker was found in a wooded area; autopsy reports showed that the girl had been sexually assaulted and strangled. One year later, Doil Lane, who was a dishwasher at a local restaurant, confessed to the killings of both Shoemaker and of 8-year-old Bertha Martinez. Lane was given the death sentence, which has been the subject of controversy given his mental state.
8. Frazier Glenn Miller Jr.
On April 13, 2014, former White Patriot Party leader Glenn Miller walked into the Overland Park Jewish Community Center and opened fire, killing three. The Neo-Nazi has since been convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
9. Arthur Caenen
Arthur Caenen, who is said to have a long history of mental illness, deliberately hit and killed 16-year-old Jordan Palmer with his car while the teenager walked along the side of the road. The jury later convicted Caenen of first-degree murder.
10. Daniel Remeta
In 1985, Daniel Eugene Remeta, along with his girlfriend and another man, shot and killed Larry D. McFarland during a robbery at Stuckey's Restaurant in Grainfield. The trio went on to shoot Thomas County Undersheriff Ben Albright (who survived), and kill Rick Schroeder and Glenn Moore, who had been taken hostage during a carjacking.