Kansas City Star, Friday 10/30/98

Candlelight vigil marks anniversary of teen's killing

By Rasheeda Crayton
Staff Writer

   A picture of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen stood framed on a stand, flanked by dozens of roses and carnations.

   Shrouded in darkness, 15 persons surrounded the display Thursday evening, holding candles and remembering the teen who was killed Oct. 22, 1997.

   "This day was much like her life," Anastasia's father, Robert WitbolsFeugen, said about 6 p.m. "It's dark. The sun set too quickly tonight, just like it did on her life."

   The vigil was held in Lincoln Cemetery, where Anastasia's body was found last year. Anastasia, 18, was last seen with her boyfriend, Justin Bruton. The two had argued, and Bruton told police Anastasia had asked to be let out of the car near the cemetery. Her body was found the next day, and Bruton killed himself a few days later.

   At the vigil, WitbolsFeugen said the constant retelling of this sequence of events leads possible witnesses to think that information they have is no longer helpful.

   "A lot of people look at it as a murder-suicide," he said. "That hasn't been proven yet. . . A killer may still be out there, and if so, someone has information that can help, but they think the case is closed."

   Jackson COunty Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ron Kellogg said the case is still open, and authorities have not concluded that it was a murder-suicide.

   While WitbolsFeugen has become frustrated with authorities because they have yet to solve the case, Kellogg said they are still searching for answers.

   There is a $15,000 reward available for clues in Anastasia WitbolsFeugen's killing. If someone has information, they should call the TIPS Hotline at 474-TIPS (474-8477).

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