Died in the Line of Duty


Murder Verdict by Jury

Officers chase Clues to Moran Killing as Coroner Holds Formal Inquest Today

State and local officials doggedly pursued slender clues today as a coroner's jury of Moran business men ruled that City Marshal Clarence Sanger met his death early Saturday morning by gunshot wounds at the hands of persons unknown.

Sanger was shot and killed about 1:50 Saturday morning at the rear of the Alumbaugh filling station on Main street in Moran.

The inquest was originally scheduled for this afternoon, but since relatives decided to hold the slain officers funeral today, Coroner Ira Kerwood called the inquest for this morning at the Ralston funeral home at Moran.

None Saw Killers

The jury heard testimony from persons who reached Sanger immediately after he was shot, persons who heard the shot, and persons who had been near the scene shortly before or after the murder occurred, but they found no one who saw or heard the murderer, either before or after he committed the crime.

Three agents of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, highway patrolmen and officers of the Iola Police force were aiding the sheriff's office today in an attempt to track down the killers from what little information is available.

It was at first thought that Sanger was shot by a man who was lurking in the shadows about the rear door of the Alumbaugh garage at Moran. Officers today, however, were of the opinion that the fatal shot was fired from the corner of the alley in the rear of the garage.

Sanger was hit by seven buckshot pellets, three of which shattered his left thigh, two entering his groin and severing a large artery there and two striking him in the chest.

Find Empty Shell

An empty shotgun shell and the wadding from a shotgun cartridge were found at the corner of the alley about 100 feet from the rear door of the garage, and officers dug two buckshot pellets from the wall of the garage in an extension of a direct line between the place where Sanger fell and the place where the shotgun shell was found.

James E. Sutterby, Moran printer, testified at the inquest this morning that he had seen Sanger and spoken to him on Main street about five minutes before the shooting occurred. Sutterby had gone to his print shop after a package, meeting Sanger on the way home when he saw a flash, heard a shot and heard the marshal call for help.

Sutterby told the coroner's jury that he ran toward the sound of the shot and cry and called "Where are you?"

Behind Alumbaugh's! Sanger replied and when Sutterby arrived there he found the marshal lying on the ground badly wounded.

Two men to Scene

Bob Manbeck of Moran, who had been sitting in a car on Main street and also heard the shot, arrived on the scene just after Sutterby but neither he nor Sutterby saw any other person or persons at the scene.

Sutterby and Manbeck both testified that Sanger, with his last breaths told them that there were two men trying to break into Alumbaugh's.

Dr. R. R. Nevitt, who also testified this morning, said that he arrived at the site to find Sanger pretty near gone. He administered a hypo in an attempt to counteract the shock, but Sanger died within a few minutes, probably from the effect of the shock and the heavy hemorrhage.

Others Heard Shot

Several other persons who lived near the garage, testified that they heard the shot, but no one could be found who had heard or seen the murderer make his getaway.

Officers theorized that the killers had intended to burglarize the garage of a number of new tired which were on hand. Harvey Alumbaugh, owner of the garage said that there were about 25 new tires in stock at the time of the murder, and there had been 53 in the garage a few days previously.

The officers believe that the burglars had spotted the garage as a likely place for a theft and that after parking their truck or car some distance from the garage they had gone to the building to break in carry out the tires and drive the vehicle up to load them on later.

A Lookout at Alley

One man, the officers think, went to the rear door to force it while the other man remained at the corner of the alley as a lookout. The marshal appeared around the corner of the building just about the time the man at the door was beginning to work.

The investigators believe that the marshal saw the bandit at the door at the same time that the lookout spotted the marshal. The marshal evidently challenged the man at the door and the lookout called to the marshal at about the same time. As the man at the door turned to flee, the marshal turned to face the lookout and received the full shotgun blast in the front of his body.

The men probably ran north or west in the alley or the side street while Sutterby and Manbeck were running toward the marshal.

Members of the coroner's jury who heard the testimony today were Harry Hurlock, foreman, John Tyler, George Varner, James E. Smith, Joe T. Wright, and W. E. North, Coroner Ira Kerwood presided and County Attorney Mitchell Bushey questioned the witnesses.

Funeral Today

Funeral services for the slain man were held today at the Ralston Funeral Home at 2 o'clock.

He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Anna Cooper of Chanute, and Mrs. Alma Mixon of Kansas City. Sanger was a World War veteran and a member of the Chanute American Legion post.

The Rev. G. M. Pierce conducted the services at Moran and burial was in Chanute. (Iola Register, March 30, 1942, pages 1 and 6)


Guard Dies; Hostages Freed

Violence at Leavenworth Ends

Leavenworth, Kan - A day of violence that left one guard fatally stabbed at the U.S. penitentiary here ended with the release of four hostages taken by two inmates.

Prison officials said the hostages - identified as corrections officers Kenneth Holcomb and Marvin Berry and John S. Mitchell, a civilian employee in the prison's laundry - were in good shape following their release late Tuesday night.

Richard M. Williams, also an employee in the laundry was released unharmed earlier Tuesday night.

The two inmates were identified as William Hurst, 36, of Hollywood, Calif., and Aramondo L. Miramon, 31, of Los Angeles.

The release of the three hostages followed agreement by Warden Loren E. Daggett and other prison officials to meet with a nine-member inmate council selected by Hurst and Miramon.

During the conference, which lasted about two hours, the inmates aired complaints about the general treatment of prisoners, food and medical facilities, conditions at a building used for solitary confinement and alleged attempts by corrections officers to cause black, white and Mexican-American inmates to fight among themselves.

Newsman Harry Jones Jr. of The Kansas City Star and Donald E. Black, managing editor of the Leavenworth Times, were selected by the inmates as "impartial observers" for the conference.

Jones and Black were involved in negotiating the release of the hostages.

Prison officials said the four men were taken hostage in the prison laundry following an outbreak of violence that began shortly before noon in the dining room. Officials said some 100 of the prison's 2.175 inmates took part in the disturbance.

The laundry is a separate structure on the west side of the prison. The warden said the rest of the prison was calm.

Five guards were injured in the disturbance and in cell blocks as they attempted to force men back into their cells, officials said.

Prison officials said about 15 minutes after the hostages were taken Wayne G. Selle, 40, a retired military man who had served as a corrections officer for less than a year was stabbed to death in cellblock A, an area described as housing "normal" inmates.

Michael Quinlan, executive assistant to Daggett, said one of the inmates apparently reached through a cell door to stab Selle. He said a 12 inch knife was found in the laundry following the disturbance.

Warden Daggett said of Tuesday's disturbance, the rank and file had nothing to do with it. It was just a few trouble-makers.

Hurst is serving six years on a bank robbery charge and his record showed he faced sentences of 32 years in New York and life in Massachusetts.

Miramon is serving 10 years for bank robbery. (Waterloo Daily Courier, August 1, 1973, page 2)


Night Watchman at Lenora, Found Shot to Death

Lenora, Kan. - Jube Simpson, 35, night watchman here was found shot to death in a filling station early this morning.

No one has been found who heard the shot which killed Simpson and there was no evidence of an attempted robbery, although burglars were reported at Edmond, about twelve miles east.

Simpson, an A. E. F. veteran is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herb Simpson, his widow and two sons. (Hutchinson News, November 21, 1932, page 1)


Spearville - Bret D. Tepe, 37, died Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003 as a result of an automobile accident west of Spearville.

He was born Aug. 25, 1966, in Spearville to Harold and Karen (Eck) Tepe. He was a graduate of Spearville High School. He was a U.S. Navy veteran.

He married Angela M. Offutt on Oct. 15, 1988 in La Crosse. In 1989 he joined the Goodland Police Department where he served as a patrol officer and later as an investigator.

Survivors include his wife of the home; three daughters, Jenessa Rose, Avonlea Faith and Felicity Marie, all of the home; his mother, a brother, Greg and two sisters, Lisa Rice and Colette Lowe.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Spearville burial in St. John Cemetery, Spearville.

A vigil service will be at 7 p.m. today at the church. Visitation will be until 4 p.m. today at Swaim Funeral Home, Dodge City.

Memorials are suggested to the Bret D. Tepe Memorial Fund. (The Hays Daily News, September 25, 2003, page 6)


Officer presumed drowned in rescue attempt at river

Beloit- A police officer who helped rescue two men trapped in a rain-swollen river himself was swept away and was presumed drowned.
The body of Officer Daniel D. Trail, 27, hadn't been recovered by late afternoon Monday. He disappeared this weekend in the rain-swollen Solomon River.

Two 19 year old men became trapped in the turbulence just below the dam after riding innertubes down the Solomon from several miles west of Beloit, said Beloit police chief Patrick N. Shea.

One of the men was trapped above a spillway near the north bank and another was trapped in the back roll of the spillway near the south bank.
A Mitchell county deputy was able to rescue the man on the north bank.

Trail a fireman and two other people tried to reach the other man with a rescue pole. Trail and the fireman fell into the water. The fireman and the trapped man were able to break free from the current, but Trail was pulled under by the current and undertow, Shea said.

Trail had been working as a police officer in Beloit since April. He previously had worked in Atwood and Colby. (Hutchinson News, June 27, 1995, page 23)


Ada - The funeral for David LeRoy VanMeter, 27, Minneapolis policeman, will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the Antioch Baptist Church, Ada, the Revs. C. E. Bodenhamer and Maynard Falk officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery, Ada.

Mr. VanMeter was killed Thursday when his police car hit a bridge guardrail southwest of Minneapolis. His body was found nearby in a creek.

He was born Aug. 3, 1949 in Salina, but was reared in the Ada community, where he was deacon of the Antioch Baptist Church. He was a graduate of Minneapolis high school and had attended Cloud County Community college, Concordia. He spent 4 years in the Army.

Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James E. VanMeter, Ada; a brother, Russell, Ada; 2 sisters, Mrs. JoAnn Teasley, Topeka, and Miss Jeri Vanmeter, Arlington, Va., and a grandmother, Mrs. Elsie Stirn, Tescott.

Friends may call at the Haley-Shields funeral home, Minneapolis. (Salina Journal, September 12, 1977, page 35)


Murder Charge Filed

Iola, Kan., Dec. 16 - A coroner's jury here today returned a verdict holding David Prosser responsible for the death of Isaac West, city marshal, who was shot and killed last night at Gas, a small town five miles east of here. A state warrant was issued today charging Prosser with first degree murder. (Joplin Globe, December 17, 1921, page 1)


Two Convicts Somewhere in North Kansas - Young Gunmen Known to Have been in Belleville - Reward Totals $1,600 - Frizell Stands Pat in Offering Premium for Killing of Fugitives

Word came to the reformatory this afternoon that Glen Bellfield and Jake Schell escaped Reformatory inmates on whose heads rests a fancy price had been given a lift from Concordia to Wamego by A. Burns, a Salina auto salesman. Mr. Burns knew Bellfield and said the convict told him he and Schell had just been paroled.

Shortly after this came a long distance call from the sheriff at Clay Center stating that two men answering in every detail the description of the escaped convicts had been seen there this afternoon heading toward Manhattan. They were travelling in a Ford touring car.

Heading west out of Bellville, Kansas on highway 36 about 10 o'clock last night in the third car stolen since their escape from the fairgrounds detail Wednesday night is the last definite report from the two Reformatory inmates who are believed to be racing across Colorado or Nebraska today.

A special premium for their capture dead is still being offered. The reward stands at $1,5000 for their two dead bodies. Of that amount $1,000 is offered by Supt. E. E. Frizell, $200 by Louis D. White superintendent of the Boys Industrial School, whose brother died Wednesday night from injuries received while chasing the fleeing inmantes, $200 subscribed by guards at the Reformatory and $10 by the state. The reward for their capture alive is $150 each. Of that amount the state will pay $50 and Supt. Frizell and Mr. White each $50.

Hear From Wilson

Capt. D. J. Wilson assistant superintendent of the Reformatory telephoned from Belleville about 10:30 o'clock this morning that Glen Bellfield and Jake Schell the two escapes left there in a 1928 Essex touring car which they stole at 11 o'clock last night. The car was painted blue and had a black top. It had license No. 316-226 and motor number 18,717.

The two inmates were picked up and given a ride into Bellville about 8 o'clock last night by W. E. Grimm who is employed by the Chevrolet agency at Concordia. They had started from Concordia to Bellville in an old dilapidated Maxwell touring car which broke down on them outside of Concordia. The Maxwell car had license No. 316,226 and motor No. 18,717. It is believed to have been stolen either from Salina or Abilene.

nside the car were found one card containing the name of Geo. Snyder, a livestock and real estate dealer at Abilene, and another card containing the name of the Wood Tire and Battery Co. at Salina.

No Trace of Buick

What disposal was made of the Buick standard six sedan with which the two inmates left Hutchinson in is not known. However, it is thought to have been abandoned either at Abilene or Salina.

Aid of the sheriffs forces in northern Nebraska has been sought by telephone today by Reformatory officials in an effort to head off the fleeing inmates who are still armed with the Colt revolver, which was taken from Lee White, the guard whom they knocked unconscious to make their escape. Officers are being warned to use all precautions in trying to capture the two inmates alive because of their desperate character.

Comb Northwest Kansas

Reformatory officers are centering their efforts in locating the inmates in northwestern Kansas today. However, Louis D. White and some of the other officers are holding back here until the clues become more definite so that they can dash out in a special effort to capture the inmates.

Orlie Curtis and Will Ling two officers from the State Industrial School who are on the chase, were in Omaha last night. Nebraska officers have been notified to be on the look-out for the inmates. Curtis, formerly of Hutchinson and Ling dropped down to Lincoln this morning and they are scouring southern Nebraska for the fleeing esacpes today.

Miss Dorla Steele, the young woman who was shot by Bellfield near Art's filling station at 25th and Main street Wednesday night was reported as getting along nicely at Grace Hospital this morning

Services for White

All Reformatory officials who can be spared from the institution will attend the funeral services of Lee White, a fellow officer, which will be held at 6 o'clock this evening at the Friesen funeral parolors.

Word has also been received here that Chief of Police Wilson of Wichita and son other peace officers of that city and from others will be here to attend the service.

Rev. Stanley Smith, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church and also chaplain at the Reformatory is to be in charge of the services. (Hutchinson News, July 27, 1928, page 1)


Teen Who Killed Deputy was One to Duck Trouble, Schoolmate says.

Hiawatha, Kan. - A run away 16 year old from Buffalo, N.Y. shot dead by Kansas troopers after he killed a sheriff's deputy was described as a boy who would usually back off from trouble.

A schoolmate's description of Vincent Smith seemed only to make the teen gunman more of an enigma. How would someone so averse to conflict end up Wednesday so far away from home, only to kill Deputy Todd Widman in his cruiser on a northeast Kansas highway?

That question continued to baffle authorities and both parties who know aren't here said Brown County Sheriff Lamar Shoemaker.

The Buffalo news reported Thursday that Smith was apparently distraught over bad grades, which officials in Kansas and Buffalo said they couldn't confirm.

It was the only initial possible link between Smiths violent death and the boy schoolmate Ryan O'Neill described as not one to fight.

He was a real innocent kid, said O'Neill, a student at Buffalo's Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School. He wouldn't even stand up for himself, you know? He'd just back off.

Smith, the son of a Buffalo, N.Y., police officer, ran away on Tuesday taking the family car and his father's gun. The car was found abandoned along Interstate 29 in northwest Missouri on Wednesday, just across the state line from Kansas and about 1,000 miles from Buffalo.

Two motorists said they gave rides to Smith that brought him to Hiawatha.

Widman, 21, was shot to death after responding to a call of a transient or runaway walking along the main highway there. The deputy apparently questioned Smith before placing him in his patrol car, Shoemaker said.

A witness said she saw Widman talking to a boy from his patrol car as she drove past. When she came past again about 15 minutes later, she said, the deputy's car was up against a tree with a window shattered.

After Widman was shot, Smith was seen near a Wal-mart store in Hiawatha, a town of about 3,600. Shoemaker said he bagan shooting at officers there, though no one was hurt.

He said officers tracked Smith into marshy woods, and when they drew near, he ran out firing. Two troopers returned fire and killed him, Shoemaker said.

The shootings and the unanswered questions look to stay in the psyche of the small town for a while, residents said.

Things like this don't happen in Hiawatha, said town resident Anne Arnesen. When they do you remember them for a long time. (The Paris News, March 3, 2000, page 8)


Double Lyons Force

Lyons - The city council has employed two more police officers doubling the force as a result of the recent murder of Night Marshal Ben Wiggins by a gunman. The two new officers are T. B. Jamison, formerly on the police force at Coffeyville and V. St. Clair, former officer at Lincoln, Kas. (Hutchinson News, April 11, 1936, page 4)

Failure to Locate Clue to Slayer

Rice County Officers is Buried Today

Lyons - The Ben Wiggins murder investigation apparently has bumped into a stone wall as Rice County sheriff's men reported no progress has been made in the search for the slayers of the 45 year old night marshal here early Monday morning.

Funeral services for the slain man were held this afternoon as Sheriff Art Estabrook strove to find some one which will lead to a solution of the cold blooded slaying.

An empty .32 caliber automatic pistol shell supposedly ejected from the gun which killed Wiggins. All officers have to do now is to find the gun from which it was fired.

Officers have been unable to find anyone who heard the fatal shot or saw suspicious characters on the streets here Sunday night prior to the attempted furniture store robbery and murder. (Hutchinson News, April 1, 1936, page 7)


"In 1866, Felix A. Boller was the City Marshal of Ogden, Kansas. On December 12, 1866, Marshal Boller observed a group of three soldiers
entering a private home while one of them stayed on the porch appearing to guard the front door. Concerned for the safety of a female resident,
Marshal Boller ordered the soldier standing guard to come out. The soldier replied that his sergeant had ordered him to kill anyone who
intervened. The Marshal repeated his demand stating that he was the law here at which point the soldier shot and killed him.

Felix A. Boller is the first law enforcement officer in the state of Kansas known to have been killed in the line of duty.

According to a Manhattan Mercury article at the time the townspeople rallied and drove off the assailants. The three were subsequently
convicted of 5th Degree Manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison." (Submitted by Brian J. Orloff)



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