KANSAS CITY, Kan. (TCD) — Police have revealed new developments in several cold cases, including the arrest of one man who allegedly killed two women in the 1990s.
On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Karl Oakman and Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree spoke at a press conference and announced 52-year-old Gary Dion Davis was taken into custody on two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Christina King and Pearl Davis. His bond is set at $500,000.
According to Dupree, on Nov. 22, 1996, Pearl Davis was found dead at a residence on Lafayette Avenue in Wyandotte County. The autopsy revealed she died by homicide, and officials sent evidence from the scene to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for processing. Just over two years later, on Dec. 25, 1998, police discovered King’s body behind an abandoned building. King’s autopsy report also determined she was killed.
Advocacy group Justice for Wyandotte said King, who went by the name Cricket “because she was so tiny,” had been beaten to death. Pearl Davis, who was also known as Samemah Musaawir, was fatally stabbed.
WDAF-TV reports King’s daughter was 10 years old when she was killed and King was 26. Pearl Davis was 43 and a Vietnam War veteran.
Dupree said cold case detectives reopened Davis and King’s investigations and found DNA evidence from both scenes matched Gary Davis. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Officials are looking into whether Davis, who was a truck driver at the time of the killings, is connected to any other cold cases in the Kansas City area or in the United States.
During the press conference, police chief Oakman spoke about two other cold cases from over 20 years ago. On July 22, 1997, 16-year-old Dion Estell was found shot to death in a creek bed, but police could not identify any viable leads.
Then, a break in Estell’s case came when an inmate at the Lansing Correctional Facility contacted Kanas City Police and said his fellow inmate, Leon Caldwell, admitted to killing the teen. Police interviewed Caldwell and he initially said he knew who killed Estell, but did not want to reveal the person’s name. Oakman said Caldwell came forward again and admitted to killing Estell. He supposedly provided details “only the killer would know.”
Caldwell is in hospice care now and told Oakman he wanted Estell’s family to know the truth before he died.
The fourth cold case Oakman discussed referred to the discovery of a newborn found in an apartment complex’s dumpster on Nov. 16, 1976. Oakman said the little girl was born alive and still had her umbilical cord attached. She was placed in cloths and bags, then left in the garbage.
According to Oakman, investigators learned a teen was visiting the apartment complex around the same time, but then left soon after. Officials tracked down the child’s mother, who is now in her 60s. The woman admitted she gave birth to the child, and her DNA matched the evidence found on the newborn.
The woman told Oakman her grandmother “took the baby and walked off.” That was the last time the mother saw her child.
Oakman identified the grandmother as the suspect in the newborn’s death, but said the grandmother died. The child’s mother was not arrested because investigators did not find any probable cause.
Oakman added, “She was also a victim.”
The police chief shared, “We have a lot of unsolved cold cases. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. In fact, it may not be this year. But there’s going to be a time. You may be in the drive-thru line. You may be at the grocery store. We’re going to eventually get you.”
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