Man accused in McPherson killing has ties to other high-profile murder

Published: Apr. 17, 2017 at 5:17 PM CDT
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Travis Belt, the man arrested in connection with a weekend homicide in McPherson is the son of Douglas Belt, the man known as the "I-70 rapist" who died in prison awaiting the death penalty for murdering and beheading a Wichita woman.

The mother of Travis Belt didn't want her face shown on camera, but agreed to sit down and talk about her son - who he is and why she thinks he's innocent - and about the events from the past that have cast a shadow over her entire family.

"He was fun. He laughed a lot, and made lots of jokes. He could've been a comedian actually. Everybody thought he was funny," says Carlene Soule.

She hasn't spoken to Travis since he was arrested at her house early Sunday morning.

"When the police left with him, he didn't even put a shirt on. He put my small jacket on, threw a pair of crocs on and said I won't be gone long mom cause I didn't do anything," she recalls.

Soule says she can't imagine he could be capable of killing someone.

"I don't believe Travis did this at all. Nobody really believes this at all that I've talked to." She says. "I even asked Travis, did you do this? And he said no, mom. I don't kill people."

But it's a connection to the past that she says has people in the community drawing their own conclusions.

"Just mean, like father like son. And nobody should judge Travis because of what his father did. Travis was not his father," says Soule.

His father is Douglas Belt, the man convicted of murdering and beheading Lucille Gallegos in 2002.

"They were young, so it kind of had a hard impact on them. You know, they took it hard." Soule remembers of her kids.

She says Travis is nothing like his father, who died in prison last year.

"And that's one thing he didn't want to be, he never wanted to be like his dad. They never went and visited their dad, they wanted nothing to do with him," says Soule.

But the things his father did are still affecting their lives.

"It's been hard for our whole entire life. Always." she says. "First thing that happens, it's one of my kids. They think one of my kids did it."

Now she wants the community to reserve judgment on Travis.

"No, it's not fair. And I feel they're gonna judge Travis for what his dad did," and she wants the truth, no matter what it is, to be revealed.

"I just don't want Travis to be a scapegoat on this and them to stop investigating just because who his father is," says Soule.

She says Travis had a history of problems with drug use and was in trouble with the law because of that. But she says, even under the influence she doesn't think he'd ever be capable of killing someone unless it was self-defense.

The McPherson Police Department is still investigating the incident, and are asking anyone with information to contact them or Crimestoppers at 620-241-1122 or 1-800-241-8118.