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Prosecutor says DNA evidence on bottle, shirt & cigarette led to charges in Indian Creek Trail murder case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced charges Tuesday afternoon against Fredrick Scott, a suspect in the Indian Creek Trail murders and another homicide at 67th and Troost.

Fredrick D. Scott

As a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith named 22-year-old Fredrick D. Scott as the suspect in two fatal shootings, and said the investigations are ongoing. Scott is also considered a suspect in other homicides in the area.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Scott faces first degree murder and armed criminal action charges in the murders of 57-year-old Steven Gibbons on August 13, 2017 near 67th and Troost, and 55-year-old John Palmer found dead near E. Bannister and Lydia Avenue on August 19, 2016.

Steven Gibbons (image courtesy of family).

Baker said investigators were able to use DNA evidence to link Scott to the murders of Gibbons and Palmer.

"Surveillance video showed our victim, Steven Gibbons, on an ATA bus. A man exits that bus with him and is seen following him, getting closer and closer and closer. The man following the victim is carrying and drinking from a bottle and the camera pans away at the time of the homicide.  DNA from a screwtop bottle found at Gibbons homicide scene matched the DNA found on a shirt also at the Palmer homicide scene. DNA from a cigarette that Scott was smoking was also matched from that bottle and KCPD detectives recovered that cigarette after Scott identified himself to police,” Peters-Baker said.

Jean Peters Baker named Scott as a suspect in three other murders that occurred in close proximity. Baker said Scott remains in custody in the Jackson County jail with a request for bond to be set at $1 million, and is considered a suspect in the other three homicides on the Indian Creek Trail, but as of now there is not enough evidence to charge him in those cases.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker

"We expect today's announcement may calm some concerns in the south Kansas City area regarding the shootings of men walking in the area," Baker said. "But I want to make it clear that today we are only charging the defendant in two of those murders and we need the public's help in solving all five of these homicides."

Baker urged members of the public with information to please come forward.

"We are especially interested in his acquisition, his use and disposal of guns and ammunition. Now if you heard shots in the area of these homicides, we're asking you to please call us. If you've seen the defendant in any of the area of these crimes, or generally in the south Kansas City area, please call us. Any little piece of information may very well be of great value to this team standing around me," Baker said.

Baker released several other photos of Fredrick Scott, in the hopes that someone in the public might recognize him and be able to provide information to law enforcement.

Scott is now considered a suspect in the three other killings along the Indian Creek Trail.

In June, more than a month after Mike Darby's murder, police released a video of a person they wanted to identify. The video showed a figure with a backpack walking down a path along Indian Creek Trail the same day Darby was murdered. The video appears to have been recorded at 5:47 a.m. Police found Darby's body around 6:30 a.m. on May 18th after he was discovered by a bicyclist.

Prosecutors say Scott admitted to them that he’s the man in the video.

Police said that while there is no physical evidence tying the four cases together, all four victims are white men and three of them were walking their dogs either on the trail or close to the trail. Detectives noted the pattern and say all four investigations are active.

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