The FAQ: The Murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen
Did Byron Case and/or his friends attempt to
harass and intimidate potential witnesses?
There was considerable gossip among Anastasia's aqcuaintances in the weeks that followed her murder. A friend of Anastasia's, Peige Turner, heard two individuals separately make statements about the murder in her presence, both of which raised her suspicions, and cast suspicion toward Byron Case. Turner had been given second-hand information from the two mutual acquaintances of theirs, and she passed the information on to Jackson County Sheriff's Department (JCSD) Detective Sergeant Gary Kilgore, who was in charge of the investigation, though Sergeant Kilgore did not seem particularly enthusiastic about investigating on his own.1Top of page
Sergeant Kilgore did not follow up on Turner's information for close to a month, an inaction that the victim's family thought inexcusably lackadaisical on the detective's part. When he did finally act and interview Steve Elliot, who was one of the two individuals Peige had identified, he made it clear from the start that Peige Turner was his source of information.2 Elliot refused to divulge any information to Sergeant Kilgore, but he did accost Turner's mother, Karen Turner,3 shortly afterwards, and he informed the killer (or his friends) soon afterward that Peige Turner had spoken to police.
Within days, Peige Turner was accosted by a number of Case's friends, who accused her of being a "snitch" (an interesting choice of words, as no one accused her of lying). At that same time she also began receiving obscene and threatening anonymous pager messages. She filed a police report on the matter, but was met with excuses and avoidance by Sergeant Kilgore. Karen Turner filed a complaint against the detective, but his immediate supervisor, Tom Phillips (who would later become JCSD Sheriff), refused to follow up. Karen Turner then filed a complaint with the Office of Human Relations and Citizen Complaints (OHRCC) against Sergeant Kilgore. After a bizarre and illegal closed-door decision by the OHRCC in which they refused to consider action against JCSD, Karen Turner and Robert WitbolsFeugen (Anastasia's father) sued OHRCC for violations of the Sunshine Law.4
The end result of the harrassment that Peige Turner received, and the incompetence and/or negligence in which local law enforcement failed to protect her was that Ms. Turner left Kansas City permanently and now lives in another part of the country. To this day, neither the killer nor any of his friends who engaged in this harrassment have ever answered the simple question "Why". None of them, including some who testified at trial on the killer's behalf, have ever chosen to explain their actions.
Another individual informed Anastasia's family that she had seen Case the Friday after the murder, and that his description of the event was significantly different than what he later told police. Detective Kilgore, despite being informed of the source of information, never sought to interview her. The fact that she had spoken to the family was not known to Case or to any of his friends until after his arrest, when pre-trial documents were released to the defendant, and the defendant made those documents freely available to a number of friends. One of the documents released included Kilgore's report about talking to Robert WitbolsFeugen about her.5 Just after Case's conviction, that individual contacted the family to say that she had been intimidated by one of the killer's friends (one who had access to those documents), and that she had been afraid to talk further about the case.