KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A popular bike and hike trail in South Kansas City is seeing a spike in crime, with at least four attacks reported since mid-October. At least three people have been stabbed, and one person was hit in the head with a rock along the Indian Creek Trail.
The trail spans 17 miles and runs through parts of Overland Park and Leawood. It’s a popular spot with bikers, joggers and walkers.
But one section of the trail near S. Wornall Road and I-435 to W. 103rd Street, has seen four attacks reported in just as many weeks.
“I’ve been riding this for probably five years now,” said bicyclist Dave Wilcox, “and I put in like 3,500 miles a year, and I’ve never seen anything, anybody reacting harshly to anybody along here.”
But Wilcox admits he’s unfamiliar with the violence because he’s not the target; a group of homeless people living along the trail is.
“I woke up and I could hear a click, click in my shoulder area,” said Ashley Wickham, a homeless woman who has been sleeping along the trail beside a QuikTrip on S. Wornall for two weeks.
Wickham was asleep behind QuikTrip’s fence early Wednesday morning when she woke up to find someone had stabbed her in the shoulder several times.
“I was kind of scared at the time,” she said. “My friend walked me over here and they laid me down right there in front of QuikTrip, the people who work there, and they elevated my head and stuff so I didn’t go into shock.”
Wickham went to the hospital, got staples in her shoulder and is now doing okay. But it was dark and she never got a good look at her attacker.
She’s one of three homeless stabbing victims, plus a woman named Teri Lynn Vincent, who claims she got hit in the head with a rock.
“It`s so random,” Vincent said. “And there is no theft apparently involved. So if they`re just hurting us for no reason, what`s the point?”
Of course, Vincent’s group has a few guesses for a motive.
“I simply think it`s to get the homeless people out of the area,” she said with a shrug.
But police have yet to find the person – or reason – behind the attacks.
“I hope they find whoever is doing it,” Wickham said, “because they could get way more hurt than I did.”
Wickham said police officers in the area have been checking in on people in her homeless camp since the spike in violence. But so far, they haven’t heard of any arrests.