Police in Kansas City, Missouri, have some explaining to do after dismissing the notion of a serial killer targeting Black women until one of them escaped and told a shocking story of being kidnapped and held hostage.
In recent months, residents have pleaded with law enforcement to investigate the disappearances of Black women along Prospect Avenue. In September, Bishop Tony Caldwell shared a video where he blasted officials for failing to look into the missing person cases.
As the video went viral and others called for action, the Kansas City Police Department called the allegations “completely unfounded.”
Then, in the early morning of October 7th, a 22-year-old young woman showed up at a stranger’s home, begging for help. Wearing only a latex bondage dress, metal collar, and a padlock around her neck, the emaciated victim shared she’d just escaped from a home where she was being held captive for a month after being picked up by a man on Prospect Avenue. Even more disturbing, she shared that the man had murdered two of her friends. Her assailant was identified as 40-year-old Timothy M. Haslett Jr. When police searched his home, they located a manufactured dungeon he had constructed in the basement. The space included various restraints. The escaped victim had ligature marks on her and described being raped repeatedly by Haslett.
Haslett has now been charged with first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, and second-degree assault. However, an investigation into his alleged murdered victims is ongoing. Detectives and Bishop Caldwell are now working to determine if the body of a woman found last month near Prospect is one of the surviving victim’s friends.
Kansas City Police continue to catch heat from families of other missing women in the area whose disappearances were not taken seriously. One of those being Samone Jackson, whose grandmother, JoAnn Stovall, went to the police for help after her granddaughter went missing over a year ago. Sadly, they did nothing.
“They said she’s OK. And so, I don’t think that they filed the missing report. It’s like they closed the books on her because they said she’s OK,” Stovall explained.
Another missing Black woman, Sirrena Truitt, has not been heard from since at least March. Again, the police failed to look for her. Truitt’s remains were found in the backyard of a newly occupied house in Kansas City on October 30th. Though no suspects have been announced, her death is being treated as a homicide.
While the department did not comment on Jackson’s nor Truitt’s case, they released a statement seemingly justifying why Bishop Caldwell’s video was not investigated further.
“When the post alleging missing women was brought to our attention, we checked, and there had been no reports made to our department of missing persons, more specifically black women, missing from Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri,” a KCPD representative said in a statement to The Beacon.
However, residents say that the police often fail to take reports on missing Black women, which is why the department has no records of them. As a result, community members in Kansas City have launched their own missing person databases focusing on Black and brown women.
Following the backlash, the Excelsior Springs Police Department has activated the Clay County Investigative Squad Task Force, which is now looking into the many cases plaguing the city.