Friend of Indian Creek Trail murder victim hopes for more justice

Posted at 10:21 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 23:21:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just over a year after John Palmer was murdered while walking along Indian Creek Trail, investigators announced charges against 22-year-old Fredrick Scott on Tuesday.

Palmer died on August 19th last year while walking along the trail near Bannister Road and Lydia Avenue.

According to court documents released on Tuesday, investigators said Palmer was shot and killed by Scott.

Scott later admitted to the crime after police linked DNA from a t-shirt found near the body of Palmer to DNA from another murder case.

Hours after the charges were announced on Tuesday, a friend of Palmer said the case was still tough to believe.

Angela Sadler, who owns TJ's Cafe in Grandview, said Palmer worked as a chef at her restaurant for over 20 years.

"He was a good person. A good man. A family man," she explained. "He liked the outdoors and loved camping with his wife."

Sadler told 41 Action News she could easily remember the day she learned of her friend's death.

"His wife, Cathy, called me one day asking if he was at work," she explained. "When I got to work, the first thing I asked was if anybody had seen or heard from Johnny."

After learning the tragic details of the case, Sadler wondered how someone could do such a thing to Palmer.

"It didn't matter who it was or even if he knew them, John was always concerned about them," she explained. "Everyone was just shocked because he always walked that trail."

Over the past year, Sadler relocated her restaurant.

She, along with other employees, have missed Palmer being around the kitchen.

"When somebody's been with you for over 20 years, you expect them to be there," she said. "When we first opened (in Grandview), everyone was like, 'It seems strange that Johnny is not here.'"

With the announcement of charges against Fredrick Scott on Tuesday in connection to the case, Sadler felt mixed emotions.

"It was important because it was one of those things that nobody ever would have figured out," she explained. "As time goes by, it makes you wonder if they are going to catch anyone. I'm just glad they did."

News of the murder charges on Tuesday spread to neighborhoods near Indian Creek Trail.

Ed Bucklew, who told 41 Action News he has walked along the trail for around 20 years, said the string of homicides made him cut back on the amount of time he spends in the area.

The arrest of Scott had Bucklew hopeful that things will become safer on the trail.

"We can get back to life as normal down here, which used to be pretty good," he explained. 

Investigators also announced on Tuesday murder charges against Scott in the shooting death of 57-year-old Steven Gibbons from last week.

Investigators added that they have named Scott as a suspect in three other homicides that happened near or along metro trails over the last year.

On Tuesday, Sadler hoped those families could see justice soon.

"They're just not homicides in Kansas City," she explained. "They're people that had lives and they're missed."