KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Almost a year ago to the day, a Kearney, Mo. man was arrested for the murders of two women, one in his home town, the other in Kansas City. His capture was the culmination of a joint investigation between two agencies, both of which believed Derek Richardson was a serial killer.
The men and women who worked the case were honored for their efforts at a special awards ceremony Thursday night.
Nick Reed was in basic training when he found out his sister Nicoleone Reed was found dead. Even though he knew she lived a drug-filled, dangerous lifestyle, it was important to him that her killer be caught.
"My sister was the second victim that was found, she was found in Kearney," explained Reed.
Reed's sister was found in August of 2012 dumped on the side of a road, just like the body of Tamara Sparks months earlier in October of 2011. Both women were last seen in an area of Kansas City known for prostitutes. Reed said that's what makes the detectives who solved the crimes even more impressive, they didn't write off his sister because of the lifestyle she led.
"It's amazing, at first you think there's not hope. Your sister's a crack head or a prostitute or whatever, you know. Come to find out these two agencies are busting their a** to make sure they get everything done the right way," said Reed.
He wanted to be at the Kansas City Police Academy for the award ceremony. Nearly a dozen people from Kansas City, Mo. and Kearney police departments were recognized for their efforts in bringing a killer to justice. Sgt. Ron McEntire said it was a team effort and the cooperation between the departments was key.
"You see how it did come out, we got together and it came out we got the guy and it's all taken care of, case is solved," said Sgt. Ron McEntire.
For Reed and his family, it meant a great deal everyone cared about his sister. For that he felt compelled to be at the ceremony.
"It's an honor for me to be here to witness it, 'Thank yous' are one thing, being here and actually showing my support and showing my appreciation for all the hard work they did means much more than any award I could ever give them," said Reed.
Police and family of the victims didn't get to see Richardson convicted in court. He killed himself in jail a few weeks after his arrest. Many who worked the case were convinced he would have killed again, if he hadn't been caught.