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Operation LeGend gives hope to mother seeking answers in son's death

Dante Wachtler's case remains unsolved
Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 19:08:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Operation LeGend, a federal response to increasing violent crime in Kansas City and several other cities around the nation, is giving many grieving families hope.

Federal agents helped police arrest the suspected murderer of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, the operation's namesake.

Since the operation began on July 8, 18 homicide suspects have been arrested and more than 70 illegal guns taken off the streets.

Toni Priore hopes her son's killer will be arrested, too.

"I need someone to come forward. I need answers," Priore said on the two-year anniversary of her son's death.

Dante Wachtler, 25, was shot and killed two years ago near 9th and Harrison. It was 4:30 a.m. and he was about to board a Greyhound bus back home to California.

Priore told 41 Action News she doesn't understand how this could have happened. Wachtler didn't know anyone in Kansas City. He had stayed with a friend in St. Joseph for a couple of weeks. That friend dropped him off at the bus station, which is just blocks away from where he was found.

Police released a picture of a gold or silver car seen in the area at the time of Wachtler's death, but no new information has come from it.

On the one-year anniversary of his death, Priore said police told her they had nothing new. This year, the update is the same.

KCPD said the detective on the case has not been able to speak to any witnesses at the scene and still needs tips.

Priore said the pain of losing her son without any information of why or how it happened only grows worse.

"Hearing about what's going on there really gives me hope, it really does," Priore said. "But I still want to reach the people of Kansas City and want to ask them, please if you know anything, if you have just the tiniest bit of information please call the police or call Crime Stoppers."

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who spoke at a news conference in Kansas City on Wednesday, did not say what will happen when Operation LeGend ends, but said federal officers will stay in Kansas City as long as they know it works.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015.