OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities on Tuesday were investigating the deaths of three people whose bodies were found on a rural property in eastern Kansas, a day after friends of the residents called police to report a foul smell at the site.
Meanwhile, investigators in a nearby county were waiting to see if one of the bodies is a suburban Kansas City mother who has been missing with her 18-month-old baby since last week.
The bodies of two adult men and one woman were found Monday on the farm west of Ottawa, which is located about 60 miles southwest of Kansas City, Sheriff Jeff Richards said at a news conference.
"We have three homicides on a very large scene," Richards said.
Richards declined to release other details, including the victims' identities or how they were killed.
Kortni McGill, of Ottawa, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she, Corey Schlotzhauer, 26, and Shona Osladil, 21, went to the home Monday afternoon and saw in the garage a dead body covered in a tarp and weighted down with a cinder block.
"I reached down and saw teeth through the square in the cinder block. I said, 'Corey, there's a body here,'" McGill said.
McGill said she and Schlotzhauer first went to the property Sunday to check on a friend who had not been heard from since April 25. When they got there they smelled a foul odor coming from the south side of the home and called police.
McGill said sheriff's deputies went into the home and came out 10 to 15 minutes later, saying they didn't find anything and the smell was probably trash. She said the deputies then peered inside a large garage on the opposite side of the house, where there also was a strong, foul smell, but dismissed it as garbage and left.
McGill and Schlotzhauer returned to the home Monday with Osladil to feed the resident's dog and investigate the strong smells again.
Osladil said the three looked around the garage for no more than 10 minutes when they found the tarp under what appeared to be a pile of junk that had apparently been put there on purpose.
McGill said the body appeared to have decayed and that they saw a bag of baby clothes on top of the tarp. They called 911 again.