FF12 Cold Case: Bridal shop murder sparks questions 27 years later

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) It's been 27 years since Ruth Feather learned her close friend was shot and killed at a Wichita bridal shop. Feather says she hasn't forgotten her face or her smile.

"She just had that way about her and people loved her," said Feather.

Police found Patricia Smith, 23, and Patricia Magers, 32, murdered at "La' Bride" Bridal Shop on East Kellogg on April 11, 1992. Magers owned the shop and Smith was an employee at the time. Nearly three decades later police are still searching for their killer.

"I was getting ready to join my mom at church and I was listening to the news while I was getting ready," said Feathers, recalling the moment she learned what had happened to her friend.

Smith and Magers were staying late at the shop to wait for one last customer. The two came face-to-face with a gunman who shot them both, execution style. The customer they waited for was the only eyewitness. He gave police a suspect description that resulted in a composite sketch 27 years ago.

Police quickly connected the bridal shop murders to several others in Indiana and Missouri based on ballistics. All victims were store clerks, all but one were women and each murder happened in a city along I-35 or I-70, earning the name the "I-70 killings."

Wichita Police say they still believe Smith and Magers' murders are part of that ring, but friends and family have questioned that theory over the years.

"The shop was right on Kellogg but before you get to the turnpike to go to I-35. Her dad just always had troubles with that," said Feather.

The shop near Oliver and Kellogg is no longer standing and Feather worries soon the entire case will be forgotten.

"It's just one of those where you don't talk about it very much anymore but it's still always in the back of my mind," said Feather.

Wichita Police say the bridal shop murder investigation is still open but they could not tell me when they last received any tips on the case. Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers or call 316-267-2111.