KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Metro law enforcement agencies say they believe they’ve stopped a potential serial killer. Prosecutors have charged a Kansas City man with the murder of two women working as prostitutes.
Kansas City police say Derek Richardson, 27, actually confessed to the murder of the two women. They say he described in detail what he did to them. He told police that he strangled them to death while wearing white gloves.
Police believe he would have struck again. They say two tips led them to Richardson, after their plea to the public last week for help.
Police said Richardson met Tamara Sparks, 40, in October of 2011. They say Sparks was working the streets and Richardson picked her up and took her back to his duplex off of northeast Winn.
Richardson told detectives that’s where Sparks began to perform sexual acts and then he strangled her. He dumped her body off the side of the road in Clay County, pouring bleach onto her body.
In August of 2012, police found the body of Nicoleone Reed, 23, also dumped in Clay County. They discovered that bleach was poured over her body as well.
Law enforcement officials connected the two crimes and say one tipster told them Richardson told the informant about the killings.
Police also say one crucial piece of evidence stood out: a size 11 Croc canvas loafer which was left at the Sparks crime scene.
Another tipster told police that the shoe belonged to Richardson. Police say the tipster’s DNA was on the shoe.
“That shoe made a huge difference,” said KCMO Police Sgt. Doug Niemeier. “It did seem to be a small item, but you never know in a homicide or any other case what piece of evidence, no matter how big or how small, may solve your case.”
Police say they believe Richardson was targeting these women because he felt they were lesser than him. Witnesses say he was also infatuated with serial killers.
Meanwhile, Richardson’s neighbors were shocked about the news of his arrest. Neighbor Matt Elwonger says Richardson was cordial, but was recently evicted about a month ago. He says the suspect lived at the duplex for about two years with a wife and child.
“It’s so surprising to me that it was literally right next door like it was happening a wall away and we didn’t hear anything or know anything was going on,” Elwonger said.
Richardson, his wife and young son were evicted from the home mid-January according to Gary Davis, the landlord. Davis said the family stopped paying rent for the past couple of months. He said both Richardson and his wife lost their jobs in December.
Davis said the couple owes him around $1,500. He said he took them to court and that’s the last place he saw them.
Online records also reveal Richardson was in court for child support payments to another woman from Holt, Mo.
Detectives credited several agencies for their hard work and putting in long hours to solve this case.
Clay County authorities say they’re still looking into whether a third women who was attacked and found alive in Caldwell County is connected to Richardson.
For now, Richardson faces two counts of murder charges and two counts of abandoning a corpse. He’s being held on a $2 million bond. An arraignment date has not been scheduled.