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KCPD working 48 unsolved homicides while grieving families wait for tips

Posted at 8:43 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-07 21:43:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police say their ability to solve crimes depends on witnesses and the community speaking up.

Right now, KCPD is working on 48 unsolved homicides out of 120 total so far in 2018.

The families of Dante Wachtler, Kenisha Washington and so many more wonder why no one has spoken up.

"I miss Dante so much. I talk to him every morning. I cry every day," said Wachtler's mom, Toni Priore.

Wachtler, only 25, was shot and killed early in the morning at 9th and Harrison on August 19, right before he was supposed to board a Greyhound bus back to California.  The bus station is just blocks away from where he was found. 

Washington, only 24, was found in a vacant lot on Nov. 21 near 28th and Brighton after going missing the month before. 

"Do I have hope? I would want to believe they could do their jobs," said Washington's youngest brother, Chase. 

Chase said the police have a person of interest.  

Priore knows even less, dealing with the grief from California. She said the only conclusion she can come to is that her son's murder was random.

"He only knew one person in Missouri and that was his friend Steven, who he'd gone to high school with. Steven and his mom dropped him off at the station and gave him a hug. So there were no bad feelings with them," Priore said. 

Priore said police told her bus station surveillance captured Wachtler asking someone for a cigarette and then he walked outside. 

Police released a picture of a silver or gold car seen leaving the area around the time Wachtler was killed. 

There is a $10,000 reward. 

Washington will be laid to rest on Saturday.

"I gotta keep her legacy going on top of trying to be strong for my mom and my brother and my dad," said Chase. 

It still doesn't make sense to the family how Washington could be lying in the vacant lot for a whole month without anyone noticing. 

"I think it was like a sexual assault, murder, jealousy," Chase said. "They do not believe she was killed at 28th and Brighton. That she was killed elsewhere and someone dumped her body."

Washington left her mom's place at Stonegate Meadows Apartments on Sept. 27, after getting off the phone with someone. 

Chase mentioned that a neighbor at the apartment complex said she saw Washington get into a red car. 

Crimestoppers upped its rewards to $10,000 last spring. Police say more reward money and more social media awareness helps them out. 

Tye Grant with the violent crimes unit told 41 Action News in September that KCPD totally rearranged the unit. 

"We've definitely changed our homicide unit responsibilities to allow them some more time and resources to obtain better results. Taking away a few of their responsibilities they had to focus more of their time strictly on homicide investigations," said Grant. 

He said they're clearing cases faster than he can remember. In August, the clearance rate was 75 percent. 

That still doesn't help Washington's or Wachtler's families. 

"Our lives will never be the same now. I can't imagine being happy again, you know, my son's dead. He's gone forever and it hurts. It hurts so tremendously," Priore said.