Cold case: 9 years later, teen's murder remains mystery in Butler County

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. A Wichita family wants answers nearly a decade after a 19-year-old college student was killed and left in a Butler County ditch.

German Clerici disappeared in January of 2010. A woman walking on a rural road in the southeast part of the county found his body.

Sgt. Jay Sharp with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office remembers getting the call Feb. 6, 2010.

“It was a Saturday, a pretty gloomy day,” said Sharp, “It was obviously a very suspicious thing from the get go.”

The stretch of road where Clerici’s body was found was muddy and difficult to find. That’s why investigators believe whoever put his body there knew the area. Sgt. Sharp says Clerici was shot. Investigators believe the murder happened somewhere else, possibly in Wichita before his body was brought to the location in Butler County. A photo showing Clerici’s bright white shoes backs up that theory.

“Had he walked to that location his shoes would have been very muddy,” said Capt. Ken Morgan with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

Clerici’s car wasn’t found for nearly four months when a mail carrier spotted it in a Wichita State parking lot. Investigators don’t know why it took months for someone to notice the car, but they believe it was there for the entire duration.

Little more than a week passed between when Clerici was last seen and when his body was found. He was last seen Jan. 29, 2010. On Jan. 30 all phone activity stopped; Feb. 1 his mom reported him missing; Feb. 6 Clerici’s body was found. Sgt. Sharp says any motive for the murder would be speculation, but he says there were plenty of rumors following his death.

“It almost sounds like there was another part of his life that his close friends and family didn’t really know about that was going on. Nobody really knew what he was up to right around the time he went missing,” said Sharp.

Clerici was originally from South America. Sharp says there were theories he was trying to make the “American dream” any way he could but they were never more than rumors.

Eyewitness News asked whether Clerici was involved in anything illegal when he was killed. Investigators say not that they’re aware of, but they believe it’s possible he was mixed up with the wrong crowd.

“Some of those associates we’ve talked to and been given information we still consider them suspects in the case,” said Capt. Morgan.

The Sheriff’s Office identified several suspects but never made any arrests. There are still no clear answers on who killed Clerici or why, but they’re optimistic that could change with just a small piece of information.

“Sometimes the smallest bit of information can be huge, you just never really realize until you get it. Sometimes you can have it right there in front of you the whole time and you don’t realize it,” said Sharp.

Eyewitness News spoke with Clerici’s mother over the phone. She says he was a wonderful son and brother.

Anyone with information on the case can contact the Butler County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 866-484-5924 or crimetips@bucoks.com.