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KC Unsolved: Mission to find answers decade after Kansas City homicide

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KC Unsolved: Mission to find answers decade after Kansas City homicide


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – A metro woman made it her mission to bring justice to unsolved homicide cases across the Kansas City metro. She pulls inspiration from the homicide of her son, hoping that she will soon be able to experience what justice feels like in her own life.

Someone shot and killed 20-year-old Alonzo Thomas IV on April 5, 2014, near 71st and Wayne in Kansas City, Mo. The shooting, which quickly turned the neighborhood into a crime scene, happened shortly after 1 p.m. Thomas ran for help before collapsing in the doorway of a friend’s house.

Kansas City police continue to search for the person who shot and killed Alonzo Thomas IV in April 2014.(KCTV5)

At 20-years-old, Thomas was a man in the eyes of the law. His mother, Monique Willis, still only sees him as her child.

“He was my only. He was my little boy,” Willis said.

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ALSO READ: 2 injured, 1 killed in early-morning shooting on downtown Kansas City sidewalk

Willis has memories of the first two decades of Thomas’ life. Memories she holds tight.

“Trying to teach him and help him and push him to greatness. He pushed pushed back every step of the way. (Laughs)”

But, instead of social media feeds and photo albums filled with pictures and other memories, Willis relies on detectives with a different type of file that contains information about the past decade of life. A decade without Thomas.

Instead of a photo album, Kansas City Police detectives have a binder of evidence. It includes phone records and information about other clues in the homicide case that may eventually be pieced together to form answers to the questions Willis has about the shooting that took her son.

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“It’s a long time. It’s a long time to not know and to (sighs) sit and breathe,” Willis said.

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Key Questions

Detectives are focused on two main points in the search for Thomas’ killer.

The first are phone records.

The binder of evidence police have is filled with all kinds of phone record. The reason detectives believe the records may hold a critical key to the investigation is because Thomas received a phone call right before his death. The phone call was so important he went to 71st and Wayne where he was shot and killed minutes later.

The other piece of information police can’t locate is a white van.

“Which was described as a white van with some rust and a sliding door, so presumably a white minivan,” Sgt. Tim Fitzgerald, Kansas City Police Department Homicide Unit, said.

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Police believe Thomas may have walked over to the van to sell weed to the men inside. Then witnesses told detectives they heard a gunshot and Thomas running for help.

The problem is witnesses describe a white minivan, but no one got a license plate. The area also did not have the type of technology in place that police use now to solve cases like this one.

“Typically, in an investigation nowadays, there are street cameras everywhere. Almost everyone has a Ring Doorbell,” Fitzgerald said.

Key Clues

Instead of relying on countless angles of a homicide scene from home security cameras, detectives used what they did have at the time. They pulled dash camera video from every patrol car that answered the 911 call for help at 71st and Wayne.

They hoped the effort would pay off and show a white van driving away from the area as police responded.

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No luck.

So, officers turned to Thomas’ phone records.

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Detectives said they spoke to a number of possible suspects. Every single one of those people denied being in the area of the shooting at the time Thomas died.

“So, when someone denies being there, unless we have somebody that physically saw them there and identified them, then we don’t have a lot of rebuttal to that,” Fitzgerald said.

Key Reward

Now that the case is at a standstill, police have hope money will help someone talk.

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There is a reward of up to $27,000 offered in the case. Police are looking for someone the shooter confessed to, a neighbor with more information about the description of the van, someone who is brave enough to come forward and help solve this case.

“We just need that information to come in so that we can get our detectives out there to follow up on that information.”

ALSO READ: 6-year-old girl killed in freak badminton accident while on vacation with family

Following Thompson’s homicide, his mother founded the group “Momma on a Mission” following her son’s murder. The group works to help other families who end up facing the same future.

Every one of them will benefit from witnesses making the decision to pick up a phone, or send an email, to KC Crimestoppers at tips@kc-crime.org or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

There are rewards offered in all unsolved homicides in the Kansas City area.

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Kansas

I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore as Minecraft builder replicates US city at 1:1 scale using software they developed

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I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore as Minecraft builder replicates US city at 1:1 scale using software they developed


We have covered a few exceptional Minecraft builds in recent times here at Readwrite Gaming, the most recent being the stunning recreation of Chernobyl – a Minecraft build that actually made me watch the HBO series again.

Now for something a little less riddled with disaster (no jokes from me) a 1:1 recreation of the City of Kansas, entirely in Minecraft.

I mean, where do you actually start with this one? Minecrafter AtmosphericBeats has gone about things differently from your traditional builder as they have used software they have created over the past four months that pulls in data from OpenStreetMap and the USGS to complete create Kansas in just 36 hours.

Should I be the first to point out that, while technically impressive it has kind of taken the game out of proceedings?

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AtmosphericBeats said in a post on Reddit, “This work is a representation of the city of Kansas City on a 1:1 scale with buildings, roads, trees, and vegetation derived from OpenStreetMap

Biomes are positioned consistently, using high-resolution land cover data

I make those maps with software I’ve been developing in the last 4 months, which uses the data from various sources including OpenStreetMap and USGS to create a Minecraft World with buildings, roads, and natural features based on the data to keep it the most realistic it can be.”

The detail here is insane in that if a tree is on OpenStreetMap it will be pulled into this Minecraft version. The possibility of making many places on Earth that are you never likely to visit could mean we see a lot more from AtmosphericBeats and his mapping software. Minecraft is a great educational tool, and if this can be done reliably.

There is already a Minecraft project called Build the Earth which has taken on the small task of replicating the Earth on 1:1 scale which is something this tiny brain can’t even compute.

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Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts – SRN News

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Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts – SRN News


Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers hoping to lure the Kansas City Chiefs from Missouri are trying to win over skeptical colleagues by narrowing their proposal for encouraging the Super Bowl champions to build a new stadium and by linking it to a plan for broad tax cuts.

The Legislature expected to consider the stadium proposal during a special session set to convene Tuesday. The measure would allow the state to issue bonds to help the Chiefs and Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals finance new stadiums on the Kansas side of their metropolitan area, which is split by the border with Missouri.

Supporters on Monday backed away from an earlier plan to allow state bonds to cover all of the construction costs for new stadiums. Their plan would use revenues from sports betting, the state lottery and new taxes raised from the area around each new stadium.

Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature also said the stadium proposal is their second priority during the special session, behind cutting income and property taxes. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly called the special session to consider tax cuts, but she cannot limit what lawmakers consider — creating an opening for a plan to woo the Chiefs and Royals.

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“We definitely need to demonstrate that we’re getting relief to our citizens,” said Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican who is backing the plan.

Many lawmakers have argued that voters would be angry if the state helped finance new stadiums without cutting taxes. Kelly vetoed three tax-cutting plans before legislators adjourned their regular annual session May 1, but she and top Republican lawmakers have drafted a compromise measure to reduce taxes by $1.23 billion over the next three years.

The first version of the stadium-financing plan emerged in late April, but lawmakers didn’t vote on it before adjourning. It would have allowed state bonds to finance all stadium construction costs, but the latest version caps the amount at 70%, and it says legislative leaders and the governor must sign off on any bonding plan.

Supporters of the plan also modified it so that it only applies to professional football and Major League Baseball stadiums, instead of any professional sports stadium for at least 30,000 spectators. Bonds would be paid off over 30 years.

“We’re trying to bring something grand to the state of Kansas,” said state Rep. Sean Tarwater, a Kansas City-area Republican leading the push for a stadium plan.

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Free-market conservatives in Kansas have long opposed state and local subsidies for specific businesses or projects. And economists who’ve studied pro sports teams have concluded in dozens of studies over decades that subsidizing their stadiums isn’t worth the cost.

“Most of the money that gets spent on the Chiefs is money that would otherwise be spent on other entertainment projects,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in central Massachusetts who has written multiple books about sports.

Kelly told reporters Monday that she won’t “invest a lot of energy” in a stadium plan, letting lawmakers lead. She and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed an agreement in 2019 to end years of each state using subsidies to steal the other state’s jobs in the Kansas City area, but Kelly argued that their truce doesn’t apply to the Chiefs and Royals.

“We never discussed the teams,” she said.

Kansas legislators consider the Chiefs and Royals in play because in April, voters on the Missouri side of the metro area refused to continue a local sales tax for the upkeep of the complex with their side-by-side stadiums. Missouri officials have said they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the teams but haven’t outlined any proposals.

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The two teams’ lease on their stadium complex runs through January 2031, but Korb Maxwell, an attorney for the Chiefs who lives on the Kansas side, said renovations on the team’s Arrowhead Stadium should be planned seven or eight years in advance.

“There is an urgency to this,” added David Frantz, the Royals’ general counsel.

Supporters of the stadium plan argued that economists’ past research doesn’t apply to the Chiefs and Royals. They said the bonds will be paid off with tax revenues that aren’t being generated now and would never be without the stadiums or the development around them. Masterson said it’s wrong to call the bonds a subsidy.

And Maxwell said: “For a town to be major league, they need major league teams.”

But economists who’ve studied pro sports said similar arguments have been a staple of past debates over paying for new stadiums. Development around a new stadium lessens development elsewhere, where the tax dollars generated would go to fund services or schools, they said.

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“It could still help Kansas and maybe hurt Missouri by the same amount,” Zimbalist said. “It’s a zero-sum game.”



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Carthage man allegedly kills wife in Kansas, drives body back to Missouri in camper

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Carthage man allegedly kills wife in Kansas, drives body back to Missouri in camper


Court documents are shining light on the alleged killing of a 24-year-old woman by her husband.

Gavino McJunkins-Macias, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 24-year-old Kenia Lopez. Bond has been set at $1 million, according to a press release from the Miami County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Office. McJunkins-Macias has also been charged with abandonment of a corpse by the Carthage Police Department.

As of June 14, McJunkins-Macias was in custody at the Jasper County Jail. On the morning of June 17, he entered a plea of not guilty. On the same day, an extradition hearing was held to return McJunkins-Macias to the authorities of Miami County, Kansas. McJunkins-Macias appeared via video from custody.

A probable cause statement from the Carthage Police Department says the Jasper County Emergency Dispatch Center received a 911 call from McJunkins-Macias about 11:35 a.m. Thursday, June 13. He told authorities the dead body of his wife was inside a camper at 600 N. Main in Carthage. Authorities found Lopez dead from an apparent homicide.

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According to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, Lopez was killed in the 33500 block of Metcalf Road in rural Louisburg, Kansas. The camper, with Lopez’s body still inside, was then driven to Carthage. McJunkins-Macias was arrested at the scene shortly after making the 911 call.

In an interview with police, McJunkins-Macias confirmed the camper was his. He said he brought the camper to Carthage about 7 a.m. with Lopez inside, knowing she was dead.

After arriving in Carthage on Thursday morning, security footage shows McJunkins-Macias detaching his vehicle from the camper. Documents say he then abandoned his wife’s body for approximately three-and-a-half hours while he met with family and “handled other business.”

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the Carthage Police Department or the Miami County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Office.

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