OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities on Wednesday identified two men and a woman found slain on an eastern Kansas farm and continued searching for the woman’s 18-month-old daughter, who was last seen at the same property where the bodies were discovered.
Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards said at a news conference Wednesday that law enforcement officials were questioning a person of interest they located in Emporia, about 50 miles southwest of the Ottawa farm where the bodies were found earlier this week. Richards said no charges had been filed in the case.
He said authorities also found a vehicle related to the investigation late Tuesday in Emporia, but would not say if the man they were questioning had been driving it.
The victims were identified as Kaylie Bailey, 21, of Olathe; Andrew A. Stout, 30, of Ottawa, and Steven E. White, 31, of Ottawa. Richards didn’t say how the victims were killed.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a release Wednesday that a suspect was in custody, but did not identify the person or say if it was the same person Franklin County authorities had been questioning Wednesday. Kyle Smith, KBI deputy director, did not return calls seeking clarification Wednesday.
The KBI also said it is seeking the public’s help in locating Bailey’s 18-month-old daughter, Lana Leigh Bailey, who was reported missing with her mother on Friday. Richards said the mother and baby were both last seen at the Ottawa farm, but did not say when.
The first body was found in the farm’s garage Monday by friends of Stout’s, who had gone to check on his pets because they had not heard from him for several days. They called police after finding Bailey’s body in the garage under a tarp.
Authorities then launched a full search with the help of several neighboring law enforcement agencies and found the other two bodies. Cadaver dogs were also brought in Tuesday to search the vast rural property, but no other bodies were found.
Kaylie Bailey’s grandmother, Wilma Pettijohn, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday that Kaylie and Lana Bailey lived with her and her husband, Andy Pettijohn, in Olathe. She said when authorities told the family Wednesday they had identified Kaylie Bailey’s body, they also said they had no information about the missing baby.
“We don’t know if the man who took the car took her with him or where she is now. … But they didn’t find Lana,” Pettijohn said.
She said the family has been “kind of preparing for the last day or two” for the news that Kaylie Bailey was among the three killed at the farm. Friends of Bailey’s have said she and Stout had a relationship and that on the day she disappeared, she had planned to drop her daughter off with Stout for the day.
Pettijohn described Lana as “cheerful and playful, strong-minded” and said the child’s mother was a “very sweet girl,” though she could be “somewhat naive maybe in the people she associated with sometimes.”
“She liked for people around her to get along, not fuss or say hateful things,” Pettijohn said of Bailey. “Just really loving and caring that way. She thought the world of her baby. She loved her dearly.”
Pettijohn said the family has a variety of nicknames for the missing baby, from “sunshine” to “sweetheart or darling or lovely little adjectives.” She said the family is hopeful the baby will be returned to them.
“Everything in the house reminds us of her,” Pettijohn said. “It’s just a lot of pain between here and OK.”
Associated Press writer Bill Draper contributed to this report from Kansas City, Mo.