Independence Examiner, Thursday 08/29/98

Victim`s father questions murder investigation

By Chonda Campbell
The Examiner

   Robert Witbolsfeugen is a determined man.

   He is determined to make sure the investigation into the death of his 18-year-old daughter, Anastasia Witbolsfeugen, continues until the Jackson County Sheriff`s Department can give him some answers.

   "My purpose is to see that this investigation proceeds and moves forward," said the Independence resident.

   Anastasia was found in the Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Summit on Oct. 23, 1997. She had been shot in the head.

   Her boyfriend, 20-year-old Justin Bruton, the last person she was seen with, died of a self-inflicted gunshot two days later.

   Sheriff`s Department Capt. Tom Phillips said the case is more than likely a murder-suicide case but that investigators may never be able to prove it.

   "We`ve conducted this investigation just like we have any other investigation," Phillips said.

   "All the leads were followed and checked out and people reinterviewed. We`ve gotten it out into the media several times trying to (solicit) any information, and we`ve received no response.

   "There`s a point where there are no more people to talk to unless someone new comes forward."

   Sergeant Craig Sarver of the police TIPS hot line said the hot line has gotten five tips on the case since January.

   "We`ve received nothing that has shed any new light on the case," Sarver said.

   Witbolsfeugen said he does not know if Justin killed Anastasia, and he is not satisfied with the Sherriff Department`s work in the investigation.

   "The police have closed their eyes to the other possibilities because of Justin`s actions," Witbolsfeugen said.

   He said he has asked that the Sherriff`s Department bring in the Metro Squad to assist in the case.

   "We have been able to handle all of the leads. We have been in contact with the Kansas City Police Department, Independence Police Department and Johnson County," Phillips said.

   "It wasn`t that we shut everyone else off. We just didn`t need to bring in additional investigators."

   Karen Turner is the mother of a friend of Anastasia`s, and she too is unhappy with the Sherriff`s Department work on the case.

   "I get the feeling that they don`t care very much," Turner said.

   "We knew all the kids she was with really well, and it took them weeks to contact us. I think they went way too slow in questioning people. They gave them the opportunity to get together and get a story straight.

   "If it were my daughter, I`d be losing my mind."

   Phillips said investigators would like to have closure for the family also.

   "Any unsolved case, especially a homicide, is extremely frustrating for us," Phillips said.

   "If something comes up we need to check into, we will."

   In the mean time, anyone with any information is asked to call the TIPS hot line at 474-TIPS.

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