Family grieves Wichita woman's death as 2 face murder charges

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The family of 41-year-old Melinda Sprague grieves her death as
a man and a woman accused of being responsible each face a charge of first-degree murder.

Wichita police say they found Sprague's body inside her car Thursday afternoon near Harry and Hydraulic in south Wichita. Police arrested 39-year-old Ahmad Bey and 34-year-old Vannessa Waner on the first-degree murder charges.

Police say Bey and Sprague were dating and Friday, Desmond Nugent spoke with a cousin of Sprague who says the woman was trying to leave the abusive relationship.

"During Thanksgiving, we buried her mother and now we have to bury my cousin during Christmas," Angela Canevit says.

Canevit says Sprague and Bey met as pen pals while Bey was in prison on another murder charge. Sprague even started a petition to get him released.

Police say Sprague was reported missing on Christmas Eve. Two days later, officers found her body.

"And it was all because of a man that thought he could have control to take someone's life, because she wanted to love him," Canevit says.

When she didn't hear from Sprague after Christmas Eve, Sprague's friend, Evelin Hurt, says she thought she went into hiding. After learning what did happen to Sprague, Hurt says she's not surprised.

"Her exact words were, 'If I end up dead, tell the police who it was,'" Hurt says.

Hurt met Sprague through a prison wive's support group on Facebook. Hurt says they tried to help Sprague leave her relationship with Bey, but she was too scared. Hurt says Sprague wanted to be loved.

Sprague leaves behind three sons, her family says.