Man arrested in 3 Kan. deaths, baby presumed dead
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) -- Authorities in eastern Kansas said Thursday they have arrested a 27-year-old suspect in the deaths of three people whose bodies were found at a farm, and that a fourth victim -- an 18-month-old girl -- is presumed dead.
Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards said at a news conference that the suspect is being held at the Franklin County jail on a first-degree murder charge, but he has yet to be formally charged. Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said the suspect does not have an attorney.
Richards declined to discuss a possible motive for the deaths, but said the investigation remains active.
"Any lead that is coming in we are going to continue to follow up on that lead," the sheriff said. "Just because we have one person in custody doesn't mean we are going to stop. I believe the victims deserve that, and I believe everyone here is going to demand that."
He said the suspect was located in Emporia, about 50 miles southwest of the Ottawa area farm where the bodies were discovered, but did not say when he was found or what led police to him.
Emporia police on Tuesday also found the car that 21-year-old Kaylie Bailey, of Olathe, and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana Bailey, were last seen in before they were reported missing last week.
Kaylie Bailey's body was found Monday at the farm west of Ottawa, where she had gone to drop her daughter off for the day with her friend, 30-year-old Andrew Stout. Friends who had gone to check on Stout found Bailey's body under a tarp in the garage and called police, who then found the bodies of Stout and 31-year-old Steven E. White, who also lived at the home.
Richards said he could not release what caused their deaths because the investigation is ongoing. He said Lana Bailey is now "presumed" dead, although her body has not been found.
"Information developed overnight indicates that Lana is presumed to be a victim of homicide," Richards said. "Finding Lana is a top priority for our investigators. We will exhaust every lead and follow up every tip until we bring her home."
The sheriff said law enforcement work on the case "has not stopped with this arrest, but has intensified."
He said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children joined the investigation Thursday, and FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said that agency was also sending staff to Franklin County to help with the probe, which also includes several local and state law enforcement departments.
Kaylie Bailey's grandmother, Wilma Pettijohn, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the family had been "kind of preparing for the last day or two" for the news that Kaylie Bailey was among the three killed at the farm. But she said the family had been holding out hope the baby would be found alive.
"Everything in the house reminds us of her," Pettijohn said. "It's just a lot of pain between here and OK."
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