Kelsey Smith, just 18-years-old, went shopping at a Target store. at 97th and Quivira, behind the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas. She bought a gift for a six-month anniversary of dating with her boyfriend. It was June 2, 2007, just nine days after high school graduation.
Target surveillance video later showed Smith in the store browsing, calling her mother by cellphone, and purchasing the present. She then exited the store at 7:07 p.m. and disappeared…
Nearly four hours later, her car, a 1990 era Ford Crown Victoria, was found abandoned outside of Macy’s in Oak Park Mall’s parking lot across the street. Her purse, wallet, and the items she had bought were still in the car.
Target uses a large number of video cameras, inside and outside their stores. Footage can often be enhanced internally through their Target Forensic Services Division.
🔹The surveillance footage showed her parking her car and entering the store. It even showed where she was when she called her mother. She picked out the items that were later found in the car. She did not seem to talk to anyone there except the cashier. According to the cashier, she did not see or notice anything unusual in the store and not in Kelsey’s behavior.
🔹A preliminary scan of the Target video did not show anything unusual, but a careful look, once slowed down showed a flash in the screen in the direction of Kelsey and her car after she exited the store. The flash was consistent with someone running when the camera is placed at a distance.
🔹When reviewing more surveillance video, investigators saw strong evidence that Smith had been abducted in the parking lot.
🔹Footage revealed someone forcing Smith into her car.
🔹Across the street at Macy’s, their surveillance video showed her car had been left about two hours after Smith and her kidnapper left the Target lot. The time stamp read 9:17pm.
🔹A figure in white shirt and dark pants was seen leaving the vehicle and running toward the street, but initially it was too dark to determine if the figure was male or female.
🔹Target video of the parking lot about that time showed a suspicious 1970s-era Chevrolet truck leaving.
🔹Detectives reasoned that if she were deliberately singled out for abduction, then her stalker must have been in the store watching her.
🔹A close review of the security footage showed a white male, in his early twenties, seemed to be in every aisle and in almost every part of the footage showing Kelsey — but at a discreet distance.
🔹Investigators noted he was wearing a white shirt and dark shorts. When they looked at the video of her entering they saw him coming in about a thirty seconds later.
🔹He made no effort to talk to her or approach her in the store but left just as she went to the cashier. The surveillance showed a good picture of him leaving the store.
🔹While no crime was committed at that point, (after all he could claim he was just browsing), the fact that he was in almost every aisle she was in and seem to be looking at her, or at least in her direction, was too much of a coincidence for the police to ignore.
🔹The man, now appearing to be the suspect, was wearing similar clothing as the figure seen in the Macy’s video.
🔹When the video still of the man was released to the media, it generated hundreds of tips but they were too general to be useful.
🔹Police checked the car for forensic evidence fingerprint. Experts isolated all those who had legitimate reasons to be in the car such as Kelsey’s family, friends, and boyfriend. As a result, they found unidentified prints on the seat belt.
🔹When an investigator looked at the surveillance and expanded it, he saw that the Chevrolet pickup leaving was identical to the truck in earlier footage arriving just before Kelsey drove in.
🔹Bingo! The camera from the front of the store showed the driver clearly. They reasoned it was the subject and released that footage.
🔹There was good footage shared in local media and on America’s Most Wanted television show. One man who had seen the video of the subject joked it looked like a neighbor to the actual neighbor.
🔹The next day when he saw the information on the truck he stopped laughing and called in the tip.
🔹On the evening of June 6, 2007, police arrested 26-year-old Edwin Roy “Jack” Hall of Olathe, Kansas. Hall was in the process of leaving town with his wife and son, supposedly on vacation when the police arrived.
🔹Hall was charged on June 7, 2007 with premeditated first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.
🔹Hall had no adult criminal record, but had a juvenile record of assault. Hall, who had been adopted at age seven, had been returned to state custody at age 15 after threatening the family’s daughter with a knife.
🔹Hall also assaulted a boy by striking him in the head with a baseball bat, which may account for the juvenile record of assault.
🔹Police do not believe Hall knew Smith. At the time of his arrest, Hall was married and the father of a four-year-old son. Hall admitted to being there but claimed he never approached her but soon was caught in a lie when his fingerprints matched the ones on the seat belt.
🔹Kelsey’s cell phone last pinged in Grandview, Missouri, on June 2. Local law enforcement, the FBI, and technicians worked tirelessly until they discovered her remains. At 1:30 p.m. on June 6, 2007, Kelsey’s body was recovered from the woods near Longview Lake, about 20 miles away from where she was last seen alive.
🔹Hall, held on a $5 million bond, was indicted on the charges of murder, rape, and aggravated sodomy by a grand jury on August 1, 2007, making him eligible for the death penalty.
🔹On July 23, 2008, as part of a plea agreement to avoid execution, he pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, getting sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Today, he remains incarcerated at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Kansas.
Kelsey Ann Smith (May 3, 1989 – June 2, 2007). The story was featured in the international media, including television’s America’s Most Wanted, before her body was found near the lake.
Jack Dennis, former private investigator, often reports on politics, crime, history, travel, nostalgia, entertainment, immigration, drugs, gang activities, and human trafficking. Please support our efforts to provide truth and news that corporate media will not. 🔹Dodie Dennis, retired RN and health instructor, writes about health, nutrition, Big Pharma, nature, travel and everyday hacks-tips-hints.
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