KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There are new questions in the death investigation of a Johnson County man found in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kyle Dunivan, 31, called 911 for help in June 2020. His remains weren’t found until a year later. During that time his family feared for the worst and grieved.
Now, FOX4 investigates what happened in that 911 call. We obtained the recording and had hard questions for investigators.
Dunivan’s three-minute 911 call is calm, informative and clear. He felt afraid for his life and needed help. In the past year and a half, this is the first time his mother, Leah Sumner, has heard his voice.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry, I’m in danger,” Dunivan told the dispatcher. “I’m at 18th Street Expressway and I-70 where the train yard is.”
The call is a look into the possible final moments of Dunivan’s life. He tells dispatchers he’s on a trail in the call. It’s information police dispute.
“I honestly feel like my life is in danger, and they tried to kill me, sir, and they tried it and they tried their hardest. Now I’m laying down like it’s a war zone,” Dunivan explains. “And I’m right here north side of the rail yard on I-70 like before 18th Street Expressway. My name is Kyle Dunivan.”
Dunivan was last seen June 30, 2020. His remains weren’t found until June 2021 when a Kansas Department of Transportation employee stumbled on his remains. His remains were identified after waiting five months for results from the KBI crime lab for DNA testing.
His mother will finally bring his ashes home Monday. The same day she heard his voice for the first time in 18 months when FOX4 played her the 911 call.
“My son was 31 years old, and he was healthy. So I know he didn’t just lay down after a 911 call, after his calls to me, after calling his brother. He just laid down and passed away,” Sumner said.
Sumner said her son was having troubles with his longtime girlfriend. He went to stay with a co-worker while his car was getting a new transmission. However, Sumner said she believes who he was staying with had other plans for him.
The original missing persons report was filed with Olathe Police Department where Dunivan’s family lives. Both Olathe and the Kansas City, Kansas, police departments have worked on the case since the beginning with KCK taking over at some point during the year before his remains were discovered. It’s unclear if Olathe police or KCK interviewed anyone in his disappearance.
Olathe’s missing person poster says Dunivan may have been experiencing a “schizophrenic episode.” Based on the 911 call, Dunivan sounds lucid and in control. KCK police said they did not release this information, and it came from the family.
Sumner said at the time it was unclear what happened to her son. Now, she believes without a doubt he was murdered.
The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department said his death is under investigation but is not considered a homicide at this time.
“The coroner has to confirm it’s a yes or no on a homicide investigation. We have it open as a death investigation, and we’re using all the same resources we would as a homicide investigation,” Deputy Chief Kelly Herron said.
“They made me think they were my friends, and they made me think they actually cared about me. So I brought everything that is registered in my name, and I’m not a felon. I have registered firearms, and they have them there. Excuse me. I’ll explain the whole story, sir,” Dunivan told the dispatcher. “If you get somebody with a squad car.”
After three minutes, the call ends, and they can’t get Dunivan back on the line. The dispatcher calls back and his phone goes straight to voicemail without the option to leave a message. Sumner said his phone was never recovered.
When she hears the line goes dead, she is in disbelief.
“That’s it! That’s it! That’s it! They got him. That’s it?” Sumner exclaimed.
Herron said they dispatched a car for the call, but two sources in the department confirm the search was done from their squad car and officers didn’t look for Dunivan on foot. When asked directly, Herron said he surmised the search was mostly from the car.
The department said there’s conflicting information from the call and where his body was found. However, Dunivan’s body and where he claimed to be are in the same vicinity.
“What would you say to someone who says they only reason you’re talking about it this way is because I’m sitting in front of you?” FOX4 asked.
“That’s a fair question but I would go back to say I want to talk about it because I’m a father. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through this,” Herron said.
Sumner believes the department could have done more to look for her son based on the information in the 911 call. She said while it may not have saved her son’s life, they could have learned his cause of death and found vital evidence to the case.
“They went down there. They went down there, and they didn’t even look! They didn’t even look. They didn’t even get out and walk around. They would have found him where he was laying. They didn’t even look,” Sumner said.
The department said the investigation is open, and they have two homicide detectives working on the case. However, they could not provide any information on the case and if there are any suspects or strong leads. Herron said in the future, they hope to have a breakthrough in the case.
“I can’t promise you where it will be other than we’ll give it every resource we have in this investigation and hopefully we’ll find an answer,” Herron said.
While Dunivan’s family waits for the possibility of justice, they hope hearing his voice in the recording will keep them strong.
“What it means for me this day that I walk out of here – that I take my son’s voice with me,” Sumner said. “Thank you for everything you’ve done. Thank you so much.”
Sumner said she hopes next time a person is in danger, officers will take the time to get out of their car and look or conduct a foot search.
KCKPD said although they do have some information on this case, they still need more and are asking for tips in Dunivan’s death.