OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in eastern Kansas said Thursday they have arrested a 27-year-old convicted felon in the deaths of three people whose bodies were found on a farm, and that a fourth victim — an 18-month-old girl — is presumed dead.
Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards said during an afternoon news conference that the prosecutor has 48 hours from the time the suspect is arrested to file formal charges. He was arrested early Thursday and is being held at the Franklin County jail on a first-degree murder charge.
The man previously served prison time for shooting a former employer in 2005 after being fired, according to court records and interviews with that victim's relatives. Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said earlier Thursday that the man does not have an attorney in the latest case.
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 Thursday morning. "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 later declined to say whether there are any other suspects, but said there are no apparent public safety concerns.
He said the suspect in custody 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, at his home. 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 on the farm.
Richards said he could not release causes of deaths because of the ongoing investigation. He said Lana Bailey is now "presumed" dead, although the child's body had not been found as of late Thursday afternoon.
"Finding Lana is a top priority for our investigators," Richards said earlier Thursday. "We will exhaust every lead and follow up every tip until we bring her home."
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