Families of murder victims find comfort in National Day of Remembrance

September 25, 2013, by Eric Burke
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today is a summer day for thousands of people across the metro. It was also a National Day of Remembrance for murder victims. But many families will also tell you it’s a special day — one to honor those that lost.

Six and a half years ago Chris Bartholomew was shot and killed near the intersection of 39th and Broadway. He had come to pick up friends from Westport. His death devastated his mother, but she’s been able to get through the past few years because of other families who have experienced a similar loss.

“My life stopped that day,” Misty Kirwan, mother, said. “Life as I knew it stopped that day. The National Day of Remembrance helps other people realize we’re still here.”

Kirwan tries to stay strong, but nearly seven years after her son was killed she still has bad days.

“There are some days when I don’t want to get out of bed, and I can call one of my friends that have been through this,” she said. “I just talk or cry and they really understand.”

One of the people she calls is Maria Martinez. Her brother Sam Mandacina was shot and killed in 2011. Sam managed a Northland convenience store. He offered to work a Sunday night shift for one of his employees. About 7 o’clock that night a 16-year-old walked in and shot Sam several times killing him and changing his family’s life forever.

“You instantly become so close to them because this tragic incident builds a special bond, and without them I don’t know where I’d be,” Martinez said.

Both women and their families are surviving one day at a time thanks to each other. Both think about their loved ones daily especially on this National Day of Remembrance for murder victims.

Softball tourney honors man killed in 2007 drive-by shooting

green lady bug

Chris Bartholomew innocent bystander

Published  5:34 PM CDT Sep 21, 2013
LIBERTY, Mo. —Friends and family held a memorial scholarship softball tournament to honor a man killed in a 2007 drive-by shooting.

Chris Bartholomew was an innocent bystander. He was at the corner of 39th and Broadway streets when someone opened fire.There have been few leads in the case in the last six years.Bartholomew’s mother, Misty Kirwan, said that instead of focusing energy on the fact that this is an unsolved murder, the family wanted to do something positive in his name.

The scholarship softball tournament will help high school students fulfill their dreams of going to college and going into the criminal justice field.

“It still hurts. He should be the one participating in this tournament. But, in memory of him. He’s looking down. We had our good luck sign last night. Lady bugs are lucky and Chris’ favorite color was green and we had a green lady bug,” Kirwan said.

green lady bug

Bartholomew wanted to be a police office and was enrolled in school when he was killed.


The Memory Walk 2013: A Journey Through Grief

memory walk logo

memory walk logo

The memory walk is Oct 5th.


Start: Saturday, October 5, 2013 @ 8:30 AM (CDT)

Kansas City Police Academy
6801 NE Pleasant Valley Rd
Kansas City , MO 64119
Registration Closing Date

Thursday, October 3, 2013 @ 11:59 PM (CDT)

You can register at the link below.


If you would like to walk in Memory of Chris Bartholomew in the place where it says team name put “Team Chris B”

DAVID R. NINEMIRE -Unsolved Homicide




Johnson County Sheriff’s Office: Can you help us spread the word on one of our cold cases? Please share this if you can.

We are again increasing efforts to find the person behind the murder of David “Ray” Ninemire. Teams of our detectives are pouring over new and old leads and talking with everyone who may have some information that would assist them in finding the person who murdered Ray.

August 15 marks the 10 year anniversary of his murder. He was shot and killed during a robbery inside the Westwood Apple Market by an unknown suspect August 15, 2003 at about 6 a.m. The description of the suspect provided to investigators at the time was a person wearing a disguise.

There is a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Ray’s murder. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TIPS Hotline 816-474-TIPS or the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 913-715-5560.

Here is more information about his murder http://www.jocosheriff.org/index.aspx?page=189

Print poster here

Gladstone mother seeks justice after son killed by stray bullet

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be a deeply painful experience.  It can also drudge up tough memories.

One woman is dealing with a specific kind of loss, one that has brought people together with a shared experience of grief.

Misty Kirwan’s son surrounds her in every room of her Gladstone home.

“Every day is a memory day for me. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him,” Kirwan said.


Kirwan’s son, Chris Bartholomew, was killed six years ago when he was struck by a stray bullet at a Walgreen’s near Westport.

“He had went to pick up a friend who had too much to drink,” Kirwan said.

His killer has yet to be identified.

“That’s hard to know that no one has paid for what they’ve done to him, what they’ve taken away from him. And what they’ve taken away from all of us,” Kirwan said.

And taken in a way that many people can’t understand.

“Everyone’s angry when they lose a loved on, but we also have to deal with the criminal justice system, which is re-victimization all over again,” she said.

For her, Memorial Day is the time for community remembering, and in her case, that community has expanded to include others grappling with the same type of grief, a group called Parents of Murdered Children.  Click here for more information.

“We’ve all felt the same things. It kind of makes you feel like you’re not going crazy,” Kirwan said.

She wonders whether her son’s killer is still alive, still out there and whether anyone will ever come forward about a gun battle that involved several cars and several people in them.

“That’s what scares me the most that they could put some other mother through what I’m going through,” she said.

There is a $30,000 reward for information in his case.  Anyone with information should contact the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.


Gun violence report shows KC’s dangerous neighborhoods

About 40 percent of shootings result in deaths, Health Department says
Jan 23, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —A new report detailing random gun violence in Kansas City will be presented to city leaders Thursday and show that over the past eight years, nearly 40 percent of the city’s shootings ended with someone’s death.

The report cites 911 gun killings in Kansas City between 2002 and 2010. In the same period, there were more than 2,300 emergency department reports of gun violence.

Misty Kirwan said her son was one of the people killed in Kansas City gun violence. Chris Bartholomew died in a drive-by shooting at 39th Street and Broadway Boulevard in 2007, a case that remains unsolved.

“It’s not something you ever get used to. You learn to live with it. A new normal,” Kirwan said. “I know the gang violence in the city is huge. There are a lot of illegal guns out there. It’s bad that many people have to die.”

She is joining a victim’s advocacy group to help other families who experience similar ordeals.

She said she blames gangs and guns, not guns in general, for her son’s death. She said she’s not sure tighter gun laws will address the problem.

“Most of the murders are happening with illegal guns,” she said. “So is a gun ban going to fix that? No.”

The numbers in this report to be presented to the Kansas City Health Commission don’t square with the statistics from the Kansas City Police Department, which includes 37 more deaths over the same period. Police said they’re not sure what set of statistics health officials used to compile the information.

Using the Police Department numbers, the fatality rate jumps from about 39 percent to above the 40 percent mark.

KMBC link to this story

Chris Bartholomew


Chris Bartholomew 5 Year Memorial Press Release


CUE Center for Missing Persons
P.O. Box 12714             
Wilmington, N.C. 28411        
(910) 343-1131            
Monica Caison
(910) 232-1687



Memorial and Balloon Release to Honor Chris Bartholomew
Organizers hope memorial will bring new information for this unsolved case.

North Kansas City, MO – Chris Bartholomew was an ambitious young man who dreamed of becoming a police officer. On May 20, 2007, a senseless act not only cut Chris’ hopes and dreams short — it cut his life short. Five years later his family is still looking for justice.

After five years, investigators are still unclear as to what happened the night of Chris’ murder.  Chris and his friends had been out a local night spot in the Kansas City area.  It is believed that Chris was caught in the cross fire during a gunfight that Chris had nothing to do with.  Unfortunately, there are few clues to help police identify the shooters, and even worse, Chris died as a result of his injuries.

On Monday May 28th, Chris will be honored with a memorial service and balloon release.  The service will be held at 1:00pm at the Children’s Fountain located at North Oak Trafficway and 9 Highway (32nd Street).  Organizers are providing balloons, but ask that the community also bring balloons to the event.  For more details on how you can help with the event, please contact Misty Kirwan 816-305-6893.

Police say there were four cars involved in the shooting.  The first one was a Dodge Charger, whose occupants have been identified. Investigators now want to know who was inside the other three cars: a 2003 Isuzu Rodeo, a 2007 Pontiac G6 and a brown car, which police believes was filled with people aligned with the passengers of the Dodge Charger.

Unfortunately, because so many people were involved in the fight and so many guns were being fired, it has been difficult for investigators to prosecute this case. Organizers are hoping that Chris’ memorial will revive an interest in his case and bring forth new information from the public.

If anyone has information please contact the CUE Center for Missing Persons directly at (910) 343- 1131, at the 24 hour tip line (910) 232-1687, visit http://www.ncmissingpersons.org, or contact
Detective Danny Phillips of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department at (816) 234-5362.
or the Tips Hot Line 816-474-TIPS

About CUE
CUE Founder Monica Caison, who has dedicated her life to the plight of missing people and their loved ones; Mrs. Caison became a tireless advocate for the missing after being exposed to the families of missing persons at least three times before she was 25 years old. In 1994, she founded the non-profit (Community United Effort), known as the CUE Center, which is focused on finding the missing, advocating for their causes, and supporting their families. Since its inception, CUE has helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives. The non-profit CUE Center is funded entirely by donations, and staffed by dedicated volunteers.

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May 28th -Chris Bartholomew 5 yr Memorial

Public Event.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Children’s Fountain–North Oak Trafficway & 9 Highway (32nd Street), North Kansas City, MO 64116

Unfortunately its that time of year again. We will have the Memorial for the 5 yr anniversary of Chris’s death. Since the case is still unsolved I need to do this to keep his name and story out in the public. We will do a balloon release so please bring balloons if you can, we will have some also. This is Memorial Day but what better day to have it? Hope you can make it!

Event Page on Facebook

Print Poster   [download id="2"]



Crime victims remembered


Posted: Apr 24, 2012 5:04 PM CDT Updated: Apr 24, 2012 7:05 PM CDT

By DeAnn Smith, Digital Content Manager – email
By Jeanene Kiesling, Reporter – bio | email



Both nationally and in the Kansas City area, public officials and family members are remembering victims of violent crimes.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week aims to help change the way victims are treated in the criminal justice system and remember those killed. Locally, those who work to protect children from exploitation are also remembered.

Almost 15,000 were murdered in the United States in 2010 with 106 killed in Kansas City. Thus far in 2012, Kansas City has seen 39 homicides compared to 22 at the same period of time in 2011.

“There is no way anyone knows what that feels like unless you have been there,” said Greg Smith whose teen daughter Kelsey Smith was abducted from the Target near Oak Park Mall.

Her body was later found near Longview Lake and her killer has been sentenced to life in prison.

Smith and his wife created a charitable foundation, pushed to make it easier for law enforcement officials to get cell phone records and Smith successfully ran for the Kansas Legislature.

“It’s because the rights of the accused were more important than the rights of Kelsey,” Smith said. “The right to a speedy trial was more important than my daughter who was kidnapped, raped, sodomized and strangled and left to lay in the woods.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker joined Smith in the ceremony honoring crime victims.

“It’s a week where we honor the victims of crimes, but it’s also a week to put focus back on the victims and try to balance the rights of the defendant against the rights of the crime victim,” Baker said.

The hope is to find ways to quell violence and find justice for homicide victims so that their killers don’t roam free.

For more on aid to crime victims, click here.

Convicted Killer to Spend Rest of Life in Prison


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man who killed two people and shot a police officer during a 2007 crime spree was sentenced to 79 years in prison on Friday.

December 16, 2011

Frederick Darrington, Jr., 23, was sentenced to 79 years in prison, which will run concurrent with a 35 year sentence he’s already serving. Prior to these charges, Darrington had a violent criminal record ranging from armed car robberies, armed car-jackings and a hit and run that nearly killed two people.

Retired Kansas City Missouri Police officer Lee Malek, who was forced from the force because of the injuries he sustained when he was shot by Darrington, says that the shooting has left him in pain every day, and it has nearly destroyed him both mentally and physically.

“Clearly his intent was to kill me,” said Malek. “Four bullets went through the door, I don’t know how they missed me. I don’t know how a lot of the bullets missed me. I’m lucky, I’m blessed.”

Malek says that he was upset that Darrington wouldn’t look at him, or any of his victims, in court on Friday.

“I would have liked to have looked at him and have him see what we’ve went through, what it’s done to us and our families, to pay respect for the ones he did kill and families who lost their loved ones,” said Malek.

Murder victims like Andre Taylor, gunned down by Darrington in a case of mistaken identity. His fiance heard him yelling, “It’s not me” right before the shots that killed him rang out. Darrington’s other murder victim, Kevin Sherrils, was shot and killed while walking to his sister’s house.

“We finally have justice for his killer, hopefully it brings some people peace,” said Ronnesha Smith, Sherrils’ sister. “It doesn’t bring me peace because he still has his life and my brother doesn’t have his.”

Mylincia Williams was crossing the street after a Bible study class when Darrington hit her with a stolen car and fled the scene. When Darrington confessed to police that he knew he had hit Williams, he made a crass comment about her figure.

“The hardest thing for me to hear was that he just wanted to take me out on a date,” said Williams. “He didn’t care that I almost died and he left me for dead.”

“I think he got what he deserved, more than we expected, and I think that’s awesome. It’s where he belongs,” said Malek.

Misty Kirwan, whose son Chris Bartholomew was gunned down in a Westport parking lot in 2007, says that she attended the sentencing on Friday because she had heard rumors that Darrington had been involved in her son’s death.

“Listening to the testimony in there, of all the people he hurt, he doesn’t deserve to be in the streets,” said Kirwan. “We want to solve Chris’ case, we want justice like some of the families got here today.”

The Chris Bartholomew case is still considered unsolved, and there is a $30,000 reward for information that can help police close that case.