KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Grain Valley couple convicted of killing a Kansas City, Kansas, woman have been sentenced to decades in prison Tuesday.
A Jackson County jury found Hendricks guilty of first-degree murder and Ybarra guilty of second-degree murder on July 14 in the death of 32-year-old Kensie Aubry. Authorities found the 32-year-old’s remains buried at Hendricks’ Grain Valley home.
The jury also convicted Hendricks and Ybarra of a number of other charges connected to Aubry’s murder and for abusing a 13-year-old girl.
On Tuesday, Hendricks was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for his first-degree murder conviction. He received maximum sentences for his other charges — over 40 years — which will run at the same time as his life sentence.
In Missouri, a life sentence is defined as 30 years unless the charge is first-degree murder, like Hendricks’ case, in which case life means life.
Meanwhile, Ybarra was sentenced to life in prison, or 30 years, for her second-degree murder conviction, plus maximum sentences for her other charges. They will all run consecutively, or back to back, for a total of over 86 years.
It was an emotional afternoon inside the Jackson County Courthouse. Aubry’s family wanted both Hendricks and Ybarra to have no chance at parole.
Aubry’s mother spoke directly to the two before their sentences were issued. She said prison can be a second chance, and she hopes they have peace with the Lord.
In court Tuesday, Ybarra read a statement, telling Aubry’s mother she’s standing accountable. Then, Ybarra also apologized to the child victim and told Hendricks he manipulated her.
But Aubry’s mother told the judge she believes Ybarra was just as involved in her daughter’s death as Hendricks was.
Prosecutors played a recorded phone call between Ybarra and a friend that took place the day after an aborted jury sentencing. Ybarra asked him about how much TV exposure she was getting.
She told her friends to “type in world news and then my name.” Ybarra tell others inside the jail, “the Oxygen Network picked up my story.”
Aubry’s family wants her to be remembered as a sweet girl with a big heart.
“She trusted people; she trusted the wrong people,” Aubry’s mother said.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker released the following statement Tuesday:
“My office spent countless hours to assure justice in this case of frankly unspeakable human behavior. We sought the max under the law. I am proud of this trial team that brought these defendants to today’s fitting outcome.
“I must again point to the bravery of the young victim who led law enforcement to these defendants. I must also praise law enforcement, notably the Grandview Police Department, for believing and acting on the word of this young victim. Justice could not have been served without her bravery and her sense of right and wrong. She ultimately delivered this just ruling.”
Aubrey was reported missing in 2021. Then a young girl told police that Hendricks and Ybarra showed her photos of a dead woman who had been dismembered. When officials searched the property in July 2021, they found Aubry’s remains buried.
During the trial, Ybarra’s mother, Ruth Lohnes, testified that her daughter and Hendricks showed her pictures of Aubry’s body in a freezer. She said one of the victim’s arms was missing.
Lohnes also testified the couple said they put parts of Aubry’s body in plastic totes and tried to use a helicopter to drop them over water, but the tubs floated.
Jurors also heard from an FBI agent who testified that detectives removed multiple plastic bags filled with human remains from Hendricks’ property in July 2021.
An Independence police detective and FBI task force member testified that Hendricks’ neighbors reported seeing him using heavy machinery on his land.
Detectives searched Hendricks’ property after Lohnes told investigators her daughter and Hendricks planned to bury Aubry’s body there.