Two suspects, barely teenagers, charged with murder in brutal stabbing death of Lee’s Summit woman


43-year-old Tanya Chamberlain of Lee’s Summit

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Police arrested two suspects on Wednesday, suspected in the murder of a 43-year-old Lee's Summit woman found stabbed in her car on Sunday. Police say the suspects are only 13 and 14-years old.

The Jackson County Juvenile Officer has charged both with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree tampering. There will be a public certification hearing to determine if the teens will stand trial as adults, but a date has not yet been set.

"We found both suspects at two different locations in Lee's Summit. I can tell you the teens are not related and are now in juvenile detention," said Officer Beth Glover.

According to police, at about 1:15 a.m., on Sunday a Lee's Summit officer saw a car with its headlights off and weaving in the road near S.E. 2nd Street and Grand Ave. The officer suspected the driver of intoxication and turned on his lights and siren. The driver of the vehicle pulled over into a parking lot of the apartment complex at that location but then drove over a curb and into a grassy common area, where two males jumped out of the car and ran.

The officer chased them briefly but lost sight of them. When the officer looked in the vehicle, he found the victim, Tanya Chamberlain, 43, of Lee’s Summit, dead in the passenger seat.

On Sunday, Lee's Summit police told FOX 4 that they had a lot of evidence to go through. To put it in perspective, on Sunday, many in the Kansas City-area were thinking about the Kansas City Royals' fifth World Series game against the Mets, while Tanya Chamberlain's family and Lee's Summit Police were dealing with the tragedy of her murder.

"We had several detectives working this case and they are still investigating it.  Right now, we just don't want to speculate about a motive.  It"s shocking to hear about a homicide in Lee's Summit and to hear that the suspects are 13 and 14 is just incomprehensible," said Officer Glover.

On Tuesday, police announced they had identified two suspects and released surveillance pictures.  On Wednesday they announced their arrests. Due to their ages, and until and if they are charged as adults, FOX 4 has blurred the faces of the suspects in the surveillance pictures.

"Detectives worked tirelessly around the clock over the last several days and they sincerely hope their efforts will help bring some resolution to Tanya Chamberlain's family," said Officer Glover.

In an email sent to parents on Wednesday, the Lee's Summit School District notified families of the arrest:

"After careful consideration and due to the rare and serious nature of this event, the district felt it was appropriate to communicate with all R-7 families.  Our top priority is always the safety of our students, and we appreciate your support of our schools and your involvement in your child’s education.

For your information, generally the Missouri Safe Schools Act prohibits individuals charged with certain crimes from enrolling in or attending public schools. We hope this addresses any concerns you may have based on the media reports and police statements."

FOX 4 has blurred the suspect's photos because they are minors. (photos courtesy of the Lee's Summit police department)
FOX 4 has blurred the suspect's photos because they are minors. (photos courtesy of the Lee's Summit police department)

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