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.

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

 

May 28th -Chris Bartholomew 5 yr Memorial

Public Event.

NEWS MEDIA WELCOME!

Monday, May 28, 2012
1:00pm

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

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17

Convicted Killer to Spend Rest of Life in Prison

Darrington

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.

http://chrisrbartholomew.com

A Mother Seeking Justice.. Jon Leiberman Radio Show

Jon Leiberman

Jon Leiberman joined with Misty Kirwan; the mother of Chris Bartholomew discussed his case, live on air May 26th, 2011

Misty Kirwin & Chris Bartholomew

 

https://www.cyberstationlive.com/JonLeiberman

The Show:

TRUEFACTS is a truly interactive show that digs deeper. You’ve seen me on “America’s Most Wanted” – now you will hear me on www.CyberStationUSA.com

I have been in the trenches as an investigative reporter for the past 15 years. I was at the Pentagon moments after the plane hit on 9/11 – broadcasting live from that tragic location for weeks. I was in Iraq in 2004 – reporting from the front lines of the war. And, I have been in the trenches with homicide detectives throughout the world hunting down fugitives.

TRUEFACTS will cover the crime stories you haven’t heard about. We will search for answers. We will offer solutions. Most of all, we will listen to you.

What issues are most important to you? We will talk about them. Government waste? Corruption? Failures and successes – this is the place you will get it all. You’ll also get a healthy dose of TRUEFACTS.

Oh-and don’t forget about our TRUEFACTS TAKE 2 -

Jon Leiberman

 

Professional Bio

Jon Leiberman is an Emmy award-winning investigative correspondent and producer who has filed hundreds of reports on fugitives across the country and abroad for the FOX TV show “America’s Most Wanted.” An expert in all things crime, he has appeared on national shows including “TODAY”, “Shepard Smith’s Fox Report”, “Nancy Grace,” and “The Maury Povich Show,” and is quoted extensively on crime stories in newspapers throughout the country. In January 2011, Jon started up LeibermanMedia, Inc. – a full service media content producing company whose clients include Webcast TV. Through LeibermanMedia, Jon hosts TrueFacts on CyberStationUSA.com and serves as managing editor for investigative projects at www.track180.com.

The company mantra is to give voice to the voiceless and help advocate for those in need. Jon also runs SonicLeibs,Inc. a company that provides compassionate and credible non-medical home care for seniors and others in need. Just as LeibermanMedia fights for the voiceless, SonicLeibs,Inc. helps those in their greatest time of need. Jon previously reported from Iraq, Cuba, and from the floor of the 2004 presidential political conventions for 62 stations nationwide as Washington Bureau Chief for Sinclair Broadcast Group. His journalistic actions during this time earned him a 2005 Payne Special Citation for Ethics in Journalism.

As Albuquerque capital bureau chief for KOAT from 1997-2000, Leiberman earned an Emmy for Live Reporting when he remained on the air for 24-hours straight during a fast-moving wildfire that engulfed thousands of acres. He reported from the ground, and then from a helicopter when the flames came too close. Leiberman has served as a professor in residence at the University of Iowa School of Journalism, and has lectured at the University of Maryland and McDaniel College. He also teaches journalism classes online for www.mediabistro.com, and does media relations seminars. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Police Hope Website Helps Bring Justice in Cold Case

March 4, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. —
Kansas City Missouri Police and the family of a man killed in a 2007 Midtown shooting are hoping that a website will help to bring his killers to justice.

Chris Bartholomew was shot on May 20, 2007, near 39th and Broadway when he apparently got caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between rival street gang members while he and some friends were walking to his car. He died the next day.

Batholomew’s mother, Misty Kirwan, is hoping that a new website will help bring justice and closure in the case.

“This time of year is very hard,” said Kirwan. “I didn’t get to see him get married, have kids, I missed all that.”

Since his death nearly four years ago, Kirwan has worked to keep his memory alive. Shortly after the homicide, flyers went up all over 39th and Broadway urging witnesses to come forward. Now, anyone with a computer can help to solve this and other cold-cases and unsolved homicides.

“The website is huge,” said Det. Danny Phillips with the KCPD. He is the cold case detective assigned to Bartholomew’s case, and he says that the case is solvable.

“Being cold doesn’t mean that there’s no idea in the world who’s involved, their just not close enough, and sometimes having time to work those cases you can develop what you need to get it done,” said Phillips, who says that just a few minutes on the website could lead to a recalled memory that could bring justice and closure to a grieving family.

“I know people know something, there are people out there that know what happened that night and know who did it and won’t come forward,” said Kirwan.

Phillips says that he understands Kirwan’s frustration.

“If somebody was with the person they believe was responsible for taking Chris’ life, I wanna hear about it,” said Phillips. “I’m not interested in hurting them, I need their help, I want that person that pulled the trigger.”

For more information on KCPD Cold Cases, click here: http://www.kcpd.org

For more information on the Chris Bartholomew case, click here: http://www.chrisrbartholomew.com

3 Year Memorial- “Honoring Chris Bartholomew”

Vigil Held For Bystander Killed 3 Years Ago

May 16, 2010

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – At 39th Street and Broadway Avenue is where someone shot and killed 21-year-old Chris Bartholomew three years ago, an innocent bystander in a drive-by shooting.

Family members said they aren’t giving up on finding answers on why Bartholomew was gunned down after going out for a drink and being caught in the middle of gunfire. On Sunday, his family and friends are really for support to crack the cold case.

Dozens of people gathered at the Children’s fountain in North Kansas City to remember Batholomew Sunday afternoon. They released balloons in his honor.

On May 20, 2007, police said they heard 12 to 13 gunshots in the area. A total of four men were shot, with everyone surviving but Bartholomew. Police said he was an innocent victim, but they have not made any arrests.

Bartholomew’s mother Misty Kirwan spends her days keeping her son’s name public, hoping new leads will surface.

“I know there are people out there that know, they have to,” she said. “There were hundreds of people on the street when he was killed. There were so many vehicles involved, how does someone not know what happened? They know.”

Police ask anyone with information in the case to call the TIPS hot line at 816-474-TIPS.

Why fewer murders end with ‘case closed’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Remember the classic TV crime drama, Perry Mason?

A murder was committed, police made an arrest and Mr. Mason, with his great legal mind, would get the killer to crack on the stand, all within an hour. That is still the basic formula for law enforcement on TV in this day of Law and Order or CSI.

But the reality is, fewer and fewer murders are being solved in an hour, in weeks or even in years.

Homicide detectives deal with a backlog of cold cases while more and more family members of murder victims agonize over knowing their loved one’s killer remains on the loose.

One of Many Unsolved Murders

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers loved the outdoors, strumming the guitar and making his younger sisters laugh. His mom has plenty of pictures of the 25-year old outside fishing and hunting. She also watches video of Jeff serenading his younger sister Mary with a corny song he made up.

These are cherished memories for a family surrounded by pain. “There is no greater pain, and as a parent, you just can’t imagine what you would do if this happened,” says his mother Nancy Euler.

Rogers was murdered in 2008 when intruders stormed his Kansas City, Kan. home, shot and stabbed him. The killers remain on the loose.

No suspects and no clues mean no answers for his family.

“We’ll always relive it. Holidays. Anniversary days. Until something happens that we have some type of closure,” says his uncle, John Frishman.

Roger’s Murder reflects a disturbing trend across the metro and the nation.

Fewer murder cases are being solved.

Fewer murders solved leaves more families frustrated

“Its just not right that somebody could do something like this to her and still be walking free.”

Nationwide, 90% of murder cases were solved back in the decade of the 1960’s. But in 2007, that number dropped to 61%.

The NBC Action News Investigators, along with Scripps Howard News Service, discovered this after examining thousands of unsolved murder cases from FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data.

Former FBI Agent Jeff Lanza calls the Uniform Crime Report, “like a report card for crime in this country. If we don’t have reports from local police departments around the country, there are gaps in information. “

In Kansas City, 82.5 % of murder cases in the 1970s resulted in the arrest of at least one suspect.

But the percentage of solved murders between 2000 and 2008 shows a much different story.

Fewer murders, 62%, ended with a suspected killer under arrest during those more recent years.

A recent annual memorial service for the group Parents of Murdered Children reflects this national and local trend.

Person after person arrived to honor a murdered loved one, whose case has gone cold.

“Its just not right that somebody could do something like this to her and still be walking free,” said one father who mourns the loss of his daughter.

Why are there so many unsolved cases?

“What you see in gangs or around drug sales, is a culture of, ‘We don’t talk to police’.” – Capt. Rich Lockhart

With advances in technology, many expect murder cases to be wrapped up quickly. So why is there a trend that shows otherwise?

“I think it’s a trend we were aware of. It’s not something we are very happy about,” says Capt. Rich Lockhart, spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department.

Lockhart points to key factors such as an increase in drug traffic and gang violence since the 1980’s. Many of the players involved in those crimes are not exactly willing to work with the police.

“What you see in gangs or around drug sales, is a culture of, ‘We don’t talk to police’,” Lockhart added. “Even though your friend just got shot you don’t want to talk to police because you, yourself, could be the person on the other side of the table.”

Reporting murders brings city dollars

The FBI has no record of murders being reported from KCK police for 10 years between 1994 and 2004.

Police agencies are not required to report to the FBI the number of murder cases they investigate and solve but departments are certainly pressured to do so.

Not reporting costs a city federal grant dollars. That money can go to buy resources in order to target a particular crime in certain areas of your city.

Former FBI agent Jeff Lanza says, “The police departments in those areas may have to address those issues based on those numbers. They change their approach to things and they can lower the crime rate and make the city safer.”

Our investigation discovered some police departments, such as Kansas City, Kansas, were not always reporting their crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI has no record of murders being reported from KCK police for 10 years between 1994 and 2004.

When asked why, a police spokesman says that a new administration has since decided to provide the FBI with that information. A check of our records shows KCK began turning over the data in 2005.

States like Kansas now have laws which require police departments to hand over that information to state law enforcement agencies, which in turn send it off to the FBI.

With help from Scripps Howard News Service, you can check the rate at which murders are solved in your area using an interactive chart.

The chart taps date from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, which tracks the rate at which homicide cases are “cleared”, or solved.  Clearances are recorded in the year they occur, which may be different from the year of the homicide.  This also means the number of clearances reported in any time period could be greater than the number of homocides reported.

The Uniform Crime Report reflects homicides cleared through arrest.  The FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report defines a solved homicide as one in which police have identified the killer.

Several local murders remain unsolved

Do you have information that might help solve a cold case?
Related Links
The Kansas City chapter of Parents of Murdered Children and Other Survivors of Homicide keeps track of local homicides in the Kansas City area, including those which remain unsolved.  They say these are among the unsolved murders in our area:

Wes Binder was found in his front yard in Raytown beaten to death 12/5/09.

Tammy Cochran was found in a burning car on the side of the road 3/5/08.

Lloyd Mincks died when a trailer hitch was thrown through his winshield as he drove home on 4/5/02.

Chris Bartholomew was killed as he was picking up a friend, recently home from military service, in Westport on 5/20/07.

Robert Nunley, Jr. was found shot to death in his car on 6/29/01.

Jeff Rogers was shot and stabbed to death by intruders he didn’t know on 4/9/08.  He was able to describe his attackers to police before he died.

Shirley McKeown disappeared after going out for a day of shopping garage sales.  She has never been found, but her car was found covered and with blood inside, parked in a driveway.  She was 71.

2008- National missing persons tour makes a stop in the Midland Empire.

cuelogo

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Reported by: Deanne Brink

Saturday, Aug 30, 2008 @02:03am CST

A national missing persons tour makes a stop in the Midland Empire.

The nationwide road tour, called ‘On the Road to Remember,’ was created to generate new interest in cold cases of missing people throughout the nation.

“It gives you hope. It gives you a sense that my son hasn’t been forgotten,” says missing person, Branson Perry’s mother, Becky Klino.”

After many years, missing persons and homicide cases seem to fade from the public’s radar, but for families and friends who are left behind, the nightmare continues every minute of every day.

For Cue Center Executive Dir., Monica Caison, who’s leading the caravan of volunteers, the tour is about hope.

“We just hope that through our awareness campaign we’re doing cross country, someone will come forward and give information to investigators,” she says.

‘On the Road to Remember’ left Wilmington, North Carolina August 21 and will travel more than 5,000 miles through 17 states to raise public awareness.

Through it, hundreds of volunteers will take part in various legs of the tour, which includes 30 rally stops, like the one Friday in Craig, where families with missing loved ones just want to keep hope alive.

To date, the Cue Center, the tour’s sponsor, has assisted more than 8,000 families in need.

The Cue Center is supported entirely by donations and active volunteers.