Police focus attention on well-worn shoe in search for suspected killer

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A well-worn shoe and an American model truck may be the clues that lead police to the man responsible for killing two Kansas City women who worked as prostitutes.

On Friday, Kansas City police in partnership with Kearney, Mo., police, held a news conference asking for the public's help in the investigation.

"What we're here for is information from the public," said Doug Niemeier with Kansas City police.

During the news conference Niemeier focused attention on a size 11 Croc canvas shoe that was found in the vicinity of 24-year-old Tamara Sparks' body in October 2011. Niemeier wouldn't say why he believes that the shoe is connected to Sparks' murder -- only that shoe was located in the vicinity of Sparks.

Niemier said the shoe came into circulation in the United States as early as April 2010 -- and not a lot of size 11 Croc canvas shoes were sold in the Kansas City area. By October 2011 when the lone shoe was found, it appeared to be well-worn and would likely be missed if the suspect shared a home with other people.

"Somebody wore this for a significant amount of time," Niemeier said, holding up the shoe in a clear plastic bag. "Somebody will realize a shoe went missing." Police are hoping that somebody will call authorities.

Police said the murder of Tamara R. Sparks, 40, is linked to the murder of Nicoleone M. Reed, 24. Both women were dumped next to rural Missouri roads.

"I believe they were meant to be found," Niemeier said.

Police recovered Sparks' body in Kansas City North in October 2011. In August 2012, police recovered the body of Nicoleone Reed in Kearney, Mo. Their cause of death is unknown. Both Reed and Sparks were last seen on St. John Avenue in Kansas City.

Police have identified a third woman who survived a similar attack. In late 2011, the third woman, who also worked as a prostitute and who lived on St. John Avenue, woke up next to a gravel road southeast of Cameron, Mo. Police believe a man in a white pickup truck dumped her. The truck is described as a 1970s to early 1990s American model with an off-color passenger side door.

Police have not released the suspect description provided by the third victim to the public because they're not "100 percent certain" the suspect is responsible for all three crimes.

Niemeier said while police are focusing their investigation in areas north of Kansas City, the suspect could be anywhere in Missouri or Kansas.

"It's really important for people in Clay, Clinton, Caldwell and DeKalb counties and in areas north of Kansas City to be in tune with what's going on," Niemeier said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474.TIPS or text 274 637 and include "TIPS 452" in the message. All calls and texts remain anonymous.

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