KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than a year later, a California mother is waiting for answers.
Her son was killed in August 2018 while passing through Kansas City. Now, Toni Priore is hoping someone will come forward to get his killer off the streets.
Dante Wachtler’s mother said dealing with his murder is only getting harder with time.
“It’s gotten worse,” Priore said. “It’s like somebody rips out a piece of your heart, and that ache is there and nothing takes that pain away. Nothing.”
Last year, her son traveled across the country on a bus more than 1,000 miles to start a new life in St. Joseph.
“Dante was an amazing kid and just coming into his own finally,” Priore said. “He loved people, was a really good person.”
Wachtler was a chef who had hopes of owning his own restaurant some day, Dante’s Inferno, where he focused on spicy food dishes.
“He was looking forward to the future, but things didn’t work out,” Priore said. “He was coming back to California and waiting for the bus. He took a walk to smoke a cigarette and was murdered.”
On August 19, 2018, he was traveling back through Kansas City on his way to California. Police said he was found shot to death in the street at 9th and Harrison around 5 a.m.
“I think how unfair,” Priore said. “How unfair that someone who is just there passing through to get back home ended up being murdered. It’s the last thing you think about happening to your child. The last thing. Something that you never want to dream about.”
Police released a photo of the car at the time of the shooting. It was a small silver or gold four-door sedan. Police said they want to talk to the driver or anyone who was in the car.
Priore said she hasn’t heard from investigators since April of this year.
“I feel that we we have a responsibility to each other,” Priore said. “To take care of each other. To make sure that we’re not harming each other, and that’s why if you know something, come forward because you could be saving somebody’s life.”
She said she doesn’t want any family to go through the pain she’s feeling now because someone made the decision not to speak up about what they know.
“When you lose your child, you have regrets. You think about all the little things that didn’t seem like they meant much, but now they do, and that’s the hardest part. I miss my baby,” Priore said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 816-234-5043 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS. There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to a conviction through Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous.