KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A family with roots in the metro is seeking answers. They say their 27-year-old son died after he was beaten and then dragged behind a car in Westport.
Derek Mael’s father, C.J. Mael, says it was a cold-blooded murder that took his son's life. Police reports show Derek and a friend were visiting a Westport night spot during the early hours of May 30th. As Derek and his passenger were parking their car, an argument broke out between the two and some passing bicyclists.
When it turned violent, C.J. says one of the bike riders knocked his son out with a punch, and in the fray, Derek was hit by a car which dragged him down Broadway. He suffered serious head injuries that eventually led to his death on June 4th.
“It's gonna take a long time for us to heal,” C.J. said.
Kansas City police say the man who punched Derek, and caused him to be hit by that car, remains at-large. Derek’s funeral was held on Thursday.
“They said, 'We ride around here all the time, and we are so sick of you drunks coming over here to Westport,'” C.J. said.
C.J. said Derek stayed behind after the rest of the family moved to Florida in 2013. He said his son worked for a hardware store in Shawnee and was not part of the party crowd.
Police lines remain on 42nd Street where the incident occurred. Brandon Phillips works as a cook in a Westport restaurant. He was leaving for work around 1:30 that night and stayed with Derek until the paramedics arrived.
“No one had called 911, so I called 911. I started following a trail of blood and I found this guy,” Phillips said.
C.J. says the two bike riders were "hippie-types." He says the man who hit his son had a long ponytail and as riding a mountain bike. If that description sounds familiar to you, please call the Kansas City Police Department.
Family members plan to gather for one final memorial Friday night at Saints Pub and Grill near Oak Park Mall.