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Mother of teen Overland Park victim reacts to murder charges, urges parents to pay attention

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A metro man faced a judge on Thursday, charged with the murder of an Overland Park teenager.

A teenager is also charged in the case, and Johnson County prosecutors say they are responsible for shooting and killing Ben Workman in his Overland Park apartment in January.

Police Chief Frank Donchez held a meeting about crime within the city and plans to address the community about the recent string of violence. He said they aren't seeing a spike in crime, but they are concerned with trends they are seeing with teenagers.

Amy Workman, Ben's mother, said she hopes the parents of those teenagers will take the chief's warning seriously.

"I miss my son so much," she said. "He was my life."

Workman said the last month has been the hardest one she's been through. Her 17-year-old son was murdered one month ago Thursday.

"I don't get to feel my son's arms around me anymore," Workman said. "But this is my job now is to be here every single court date. It's my job."

Twenty-one-year-old Alan Hicks and a 17-year-old girl are charged with first-degree murder in Workman's death. His mother faced both at their arraignments holding a picture of her son.

"I was there in court holding this picture so she could see it, and so her family could see what destroyed me," Workman said. "Ben had brothers. He had nephews. His nephews aren't ever going to get to see him or get to know him."

Donchez said Overland Park isn't seeing a spike in crime, but with three violent incidents involving teenagers recently he wants the community to know the department is paying attention.

"We want to continue to build that trust between the neighborhoods and the police department, because it's when that trust is there, then we can get feedback from them and communication flows. And we just want to let them know we're there for them, and we understand their concerns and what we're doing to address those concerns," Donchez said.

He said the most important thing he can stress is parents need to know what's going on with their kids lives and who they are spending time with.

"I do. I think it's really important that parents come out, but citizens in general, because this is impacting neighborhoods, and I know that there is some genuine concern, and some genuine fear, and we want to put some of those concerns to rest," Chief Donchez said.

Workman said she wished she'd knew more about who Ben's friends were  bringing into his life -- before it was too late.

"Please make sure you know your kids' friends," Workman said. "It might just save their life."

U.S. Marshals arrested Hicks in Las Vegas where he was extradited back to Kansas more than a week ago. He is being held on a $1 million cash bond. Hicks will be back in court at the end of February.

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