Thursday, July 29, 2010

Police Stories: Lost and Found

This entry is about losing things and finding them again.

First we have the story of Leon Jordan's murder 40 years ago. The Kansas City Star ran an article urging that police reopen this cold case, and try to solve it in the spirit of many cases from the "Civil Rights" era that have been solved. In the story, the reporters note that the shotgun used in the murder, and the finger print transfer cards had been misplaced. Well, both the finger print cards and the shotgun have been found. Lord knows where the finger print cards were. Seems as if a few officers, evidence techs and CSIs got curious and started poking around in the dustier corners of KCPD storage areas and found them. On the finger print cards was the serial number of the missing gun. A tech, out of curiosity, ran the number through the computer weapons tracking system. And got a hit. The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department owned the gun. It was in a patrol car even at that very moment. Seems as if the gun was sold to an unknown person, then bought by KCPD from a gun dealer, because it was the model of shotgun that the department uses. Needless to say, this "cold case" is now being reopened. Read more about the finding of the gun, etc. here.

Next thing found is a person, namely Larry Schnackenberg. Mr. Schnackenberg, 58, was running errands July 8 and suddenly disappeared. His car, with his cell phone, wallet with money and ID in it were found in Shawnee Mission Park. Volunteers looked pretty steadily for Mr. Schnackenberg all that weekend without finding him. The case filtered out of the news cycle, although missing posters remained up around town. I personally figured that Mr. Schnackenberg's body would turn up eventually. Well, surprise, surprise, when a park security employee saw Mr. Schnackenberg on a trail near Shawnee Mission Park. Rick Reynolds had acquaintance with Mr. Schnackenberg, so when he saw him while on bike patrol yesterday, he recognized him despite his weight loss and weathered appearance. He was reunited with his family at Shawnee Mission Medical Center later in the day. The family is happy to have him back. However, the questions are flowing, especially from readers and viewers of the news. Because Mr. Schnackenberg appeared to be of sound mind before his disappearance, and he appeared to not have been assaulted or otherwise bothered, and he did reappear in decent enough shape, people are questioning the legitimacy of the disappearance and whether or not it was engineered or done on purpose. Even his family says that they've got some questions. So this story may not be over yet. It does have this extra dimension, because the family brought the media in after his disappearance quickly, and now there are all these extra people wanting answers. It's the price that is paid for using the media in these types of cases. Speaking of media, here are some news links. KMBC notes that he had a beard, and had lost his footwear when he was found. The KC Star also has the story, and video of the family's news conference.

So there you are. Things usually don't disappear forever. That's pretty rare. They usually turn up someplace.


Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
What a nice tie-in! How media can work for resolution in both cases.

And how there are still more questions.

Just speculating, not my business: the sound mind question comes up, but also, maybe Mr. S. wanted to go on "retreat" for a little while and figure some things out.

That also happens, you know--
Thanks for an interesting post! I hope for justice in Mr. Jordan's untimely murder.

Ann T.

Bob G. said...

No one ever said that although JUSTICE might be "blind", that it was EVER in a hurry, right?

Good post.

the observer said...

Ann T:
Mr. S's daughter was due to get married the Saturday after his disappearance. Much speculation has centered on that fact. "Runaway Father of the Bride" anyone? Seriously, I hope he's OK and his family can wrap their minds around this. It would almost be better if his mind wasn't sound--otherwise you are faced with questions about why that might get a tad uncomfortable. Some therapists may have their work cut out for them!

On the murder of Mr. Jordan, many think he was getting too close to political power. It will be interesting to see if the fingerprints pop anything. I wonder if there's anything we can get DNA from?

Bob G: As a commenter from somewhere noted, many cases of Black leaders being killed have not resulted in prosecution, but at least in more than reasonable stories on what happened to the murder victim. Many families have taken some consolation in this.

Thanks for reading along!
The Observer