Canvas shoe leads to arrest in double homicide case

Posted February 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

Northeast News
February 20, 2013

It seemed like a minor piece of evidence, but police knew this size 11 canvas shoe could lead to the arrest of a man who killed two women.

Derek Richardson.tif

Derek Richardson

They were right.

“That shoe made a huge difference and it seemed to be a small item, but you never know in a homicide or any other case what piece of evidence, no matter how big or small, will solve your case,” Kansas City Police Department Sgt. Doug Niemeier said during a Feb.16 press conference.

During a Feb. 8 press conference police released further details regarding the homicides of Tamara Sparks, 40, and Nicoleone Reed, 24, both prostitutes who worked Independence Avenue. Sparks was last seen alive Oct. 1, 2011, at St. John Avenue and Denver, and Reed was last seen on Aug. 20, 2012, in the 5600 to 5700 block of St. John Avenue. Both women were found on the side of the road posed in a similar manner. During the Feb. 8 press conference, police asked for the public’s assistance in locating the male suspect. Police revealed details about the suspect’s truck and about the men’s size 11 canvas Crocs shoe found near the body of Sparks. The shoe became available in the U.S. in April of 2010 and few size 11 men’s shoes were available in the Kansas City area. The shoe at the scene appeared well-worn and police hoped someone may have noticed the suspect suddenly stopped wearing the pair of shoes.

KCPD received a tip on Valentine’s Day and the individual believed Northland resident 27-year-old Derek Richardson was the suspect.

“Basically, the tip was to say that he was the one and the shoe was what really matched it,” Niemeier said.

Police arrested Richardson on Feb. 16 and Richardson confessed to both crimes, stating he strangled Sparks and Reed. Richardson has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of abandonment of a corpse.

“We absolutely stopped a person that was going to kill again,” Niemeier said. “Even though this case has been charged, we are definitely not done investigating.”

Richardson traveled outside of Missouri, Niemeier said, and police will contact other jurisdictions to ensure there weren’t more victims.