OTTAWA, Kan. — Search teams spent much of Thursday looking without success for the body of an 18-month-old Olathe, Kan., girl believed to have been killed last week at a rural Ottawa farm where the bodies of three adults were found this week.
Charges are expected by Friday against a Kansas man arrested for first-degree murder in what likely will become a quadruple slaying at the farm.
Authorities have received information that leads them to believe the girl, Lana-Leigh Bailey, is dead, Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards announced Thursday morning.
The girl’s mother, Kaylie Bailey, 21, was identified Wednesday as among the three adults found dead this week on the property. The other victims were Andrew Stout, 30, who lived at the farm, and Steven E. White, 31, one of his roommates.
Prosecutors are expected to charge Kyle Flack, 27, of Ottawa with multiple counts of first-degree murder in the case, Richards said.
Flack apparently had lived at the farm, but Stout recently kicked him out.
The search continued Thursday afternoon, said Richards.
"It is a large area and we have to be very meticulous in what we are doing."
About 150 investigators were on the ground, searching on foot, on horseback and on all-terrain vehicles.
Family members had prayed for days that Lana-Leigh would be found safe. One grandmother said she was distraught after learning Thursday that Lana-Leigh is presumed dead.
"I was hoping she was alive," said Rachel Helms-Bailey, the mother of Lana-Leigh’s father, Shawn Bailey. "I want to know how she died; they will not tell me."
Flack was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in 2005 in Franklin County. In that case, a 19-year-old Flack pumped five bullets into a man who had fired him from a job. The victim survived. Flack was paroled from prison in 2009, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.
The FBI and a mounted search and rescue team from Johnson County were helping look for Lana, Richards said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children joined the investigation Thursday, Richards said.
"Our work has not stopped with this arrest, but has intensified," Richards said. "We are still looking for 18-month-old Lana Bailey and will continue to do so until she is found... We will exhaust every lead and follow up every tip until we bring her home."
No one was was in custody until early Thursday morning, Richards said. Flack is being held in the Franklin County jail.
Richards said many tips continue to come in, and he emphasized the investigators’ wishes to make sure that the investigation is "thoroughly done and appropriately done." He added that the variety of forensics tests being conducted do not produce instant results.
"We need to do this in a methodical manner," Richards said. "The investigation continues; it is active, it’s ongoing."
Jim Smith, Kaylie Bailey’s father, said Thursday that deputies had not explained why they presumed his granddaughter was dead.
"I can only speculate," Smith said, adding that he didn’t know Flack and doesn’t know if Kaylie did.
When asked what he will miss most about Kaylie, tears rolled down his face.
"Everything," he said in a soft voice.
"She was a very wonderful and kind person," he added, in a whisper. "She is a very dear child. And I miss her greatly."
Prior to going into security work, Kaylie explored the field of nursing, Smith said.
"I was proud of anything she did," Smith said. "She was a good kid — smart. She could’ve done anything she wanted to do."
Jackson Anderson of Wichita, who owns the farm and is the brother of Andrew Stout, said his family wanted privacy but justice as well.
"I just have been mourning the loss of my brother," said Anderson.
"This is not anything for me to talk about right now; I need to hold my family together. I am the oldest sibling. My family — all we have been asking for is one, privacy and, two, can someone find Lana?
"We have turned off the television right now; my brother is gone. Can justice be brought? We are asking that, please. We want justice."
— The Kansas City Star