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Wichita Police Dept. among agencies hoping new clues lead to identifying ‘I-70 killer’

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s a near-30-year-old cold case Wichita police haven’t given up on. Next month, members of the WPD will meet with representatives of other agencies to reevaluate the case, looking for new clues they hope can lead investigators to answers.

On April 11, 1992, Patricia Smith and Patricia Majers were working late at what used to be a bridal shop on East Kellogg. That’s when the unknown “I-70, I-35 killer” shot and killed them both.

“It was named for a series of murders that occurred along I-70,” Wichita Police Detective Tim Relph explained about the killer’s nickname. It was also connected to two murders just off I-35 here in Wichita.”

The unknown suspect also claimed victims in Raytown and St. Charles, Mo., Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Indiana. The Wichita murders are where officers finally got an eyewitness description and drafted the only potential image of the killer, a composite sketch.

Det. Relph worked the case for nearly 30 years.

“The one person we know that we talked to that had face-to-face contact with him was here in Wichita,” Relph said.

Next month, the FBI and all involved agencies will meet, searching through thousands of files, looking for any clues.

“There’s very few people even on the department who were here at the time of this killing, much less on the case,” Relph said.

The agencies hope a fresh set of eyes and new technology can help them to find a breakthrough, especially confirming the murder weapon, a unique, historic remake of a German Navy pistol.

“To see if new technologies have developed that could possibly retest old evidence, or retest some evidence or test some for the first time,” Relph said.

Ahead of next month’s meeting, the St. Charles Police Department released the sketch of what “the I-70 killer” could like like today. Investigators say he’s likely between 52 and 70 years old and they believe he could still be out there. At the time of the murders, they believe he stood about 5′7 and had sandy blonde hair. Police have made an image that predicts what the killer would look like now and there is a $25,000 reward in the case as officers continue asking for information.

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