Archive for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Basehor body turns out to be murder suspect

September 30, 2008, 6:21 p.m.

Updated: October 1, 2008, 9:57 a.m.

The body of a man found in Basehor over the weekend turned out to not only be a suicide, but a suspect in a recent murder case in Florida.

Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley confirmed the identity of the man late Tuesday afternoon as 50-year-old Ricardo Castro, who has had a warrant out for his arrest since the murder of his girlfriend in mid-August in Orange County, Fla. Police in the Kansas City area have also been on the lookout for Castro since a vehicle registered to the victim was found abandoned in a field Aug. 17 near 198th Street and Sandusky Road, just east of Tonganoxie. According to previous reports, Castro’s fingerprints were found at the crime scene.

Around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Martley said, Daryl Potts and his two sons noticed a strange smell while clearing brush near a pond on their property just north of State Avenue on 150th Street.

The older son, Jake Potts, 16, was the first one to notice the body.

“I thought it was a deer,” he said Monday. “I walked past it twice.”

His third trip past the body, which was slumped up against a tree in a heavily wooded area just inside the property line, he discovered the source of the smell was actually a human body.

Castro also had one sleeve of a jacket tied around his neck while the other sleeve was tied to a tree branch above him, Martley said. The coroner who performed the autopsy Monday afternoon determined that the preliminary cause of death was suicide by hanging.

It was originally estimated that Castro’s body had been there for three to six months since it was so badly decomposed and he was wearing heavy clothing, however Martley said the coroner estimated it may have only been there for a month.

“The coroner said you can go from walking to bones in seven days depending on the conditions,” Martley said. “The weather could have increased the decomposition process.”

A set of keys with an attached Winn-Dixie grocery store card found on the body helped police identify it as Castro. Martley said Lieutenant John Schermbeck with the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department suggested a connection between the keys and the abandoned car that was still in police custody.

“He said, ‘we have a car with no keys and you have keys with no car. Maybe they’re connected,’” Martley said. “And it just so happens they were.”

Police found another Winn-Dixie card in the console of the abandoned vehicle and matched the numbers up with the one on the keychain found on the body.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation later confirmed the identity of the body as Castro through the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System database.

Martley said he suspects Castro grew tired of running and rather than be caught and sent to jail, he committed suicide.

“And, now the Florida murder has been solved and we know who our dead guy is,” Martley said. “Orange County has been contacted and they have notified the victim’s family that the suspect is deceased. This was a collaborative effort between the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department, Leavenworth County Emergency Management and the Basehor Police Department in getting this crime solved quickly.”

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