Shoe key link in murder investigation

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Evidence. KCPD Sgt. Doug Niemeier describes the size 11 men’s shoe found at one of the crime scenes. Leslie Collins

Northeast News
February 13, 2013

Two women with a connection to Historic Northeast have been linked to the same killer.

During a Feb. 8 press conference, the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) released further details and requested the public’s assistance in locating the male suspect.

Both victims, Tamara Sparks, 40, and Nicoleone Reed, 24, were 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.

“They were both found and located the same way,” KCPD Sgt. Doug Niemeier said. “I believe they were meant to be found.”

prostitute mug pics.tif

Below are Tamara Sparks, left, and Nicoleone Reed, who were both murdered. Their cause of death is unknown. Leslie Collins

Sparks was found Oct. 4, 2011, at 120th and North Eastern, and Reed was found Aug. 21, 2012, at 134th and Scott Avenue. Their deaths have been ruled as a homicide, cause of death unknown. 92 Highway is the main connecting road in both cases, Niemeier said. Interstate 35 also runs through the middle of both crime scenes.

Police believe a “living victim” could also be connected to the two homicides. The victim, who also worked Independence Avenue as a prostitute, woke up along the side of the road off of I-35 in Caldwell County.

Two key pieces of evidence in the crimes are a men’s size 11 Crocs canvas shoe and a pickup truck. The truck is described as a white, American made 1970s to early 1990s model with an off color passenger side door. The passenger door is possibly a blue or greenish color. Niemeier said police connected the truck to the crimes through witness accounts and other evidence.

“We’re asking anyone who sees a truck matching that description to call us, to get a license plate, location, anything they can, and let us know,” he said.

Niemeier added that investigators are focusing their search for the truck in Clay, Clinton, Caldwell and Dekalb counties.

The size 11 Crocs shoe was found near Sparks and appeared well-worn.

“This is a very unique style of shoe,” Niemeier said.

The canvas 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, he said. Since the shoe was well-worn, police are hoping someone may have noticed the suspect abruptly stopped wearing the pair of shoes. Police have already contacted several individuals in the Kansas City area who owned this particular type of shoe.

“We are asking anyone who may have purchased this shoe for someone or knows of someone who no longer had this specific canvas Crocs shoe after early October of 2011 to please call us,” Niemeier said.

Asked if he thinks the suspect could turn into a serial killer, Niemeier said he didn’t want to speculate and added, “We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Niemeier stressed people shouldn’t focus on the victim’s lifestyles.

“This is not the story here,” he said. “These two women were mothers, they’re daughters, they’re family members to someone and they are victims.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of lifestyle someone leads, high risk or otherwise. They’re a victim and it doesn’t give anyone the right to take their life.”

Those with information are asked to call the TIPS Hotline, (816) 474-TIPS (8477) or speak to a detective directly at (816) 288-0087.

“I do believe there is the possibility that there are ‘living victims’ that have not contacted police or may have contacted police in other jurisdictions,” Niemeier said. “The public is always helpful when it comes to solving cases. Anything we can get from the public is huge.”

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