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Body identified as Alicia DeBolt

Kansas AG will prosecute the case

POSTED August 26, 2010 2:32 p.m.

 

The charred body found Tuesday afternoon was that of missing Great Bend teen Alicia DeBolt, Kansas Attorney General Steve Six said Thursday morning. During a news conference at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Regional Office in Great Bend, Six also said his office would take over prosecution of the case, which is being treated as a homicide.

However, Six declined to comment on evidence, on there being someone in custody, suspect or suspects, person or persons of interest, or cause of death. "The investigation is continuing," he said, adding authorities don’t believe this was a random act of violence.

"The body has been positively identified as that of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt," Six said. The remains were discovered at the Venture asphalt plant west of Great Bend on U.S. 56 by a Venture employee Tuesday afternoon.

Flanked by Great Bend Police Chief Dean Akings, Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong and County Attorney Doug Matthews, Six addressed a crowd of reporters from newspapers, radio and television. He praised the efforts those working on the case. "Local law enforcement has worked tirelessly since Alicia was reported missing by her family," the AG said.

DeBolt was last seen alive by her mother Tammy Conrad at about 11 p.m. Saturday when she left home for a party with a 19-year-old male. Throughout the three-day search, she maintained her daughter was not a run-away.

Officials said DeBolt was likely killed in the same area where her body was found. On Wednesday, local and state law enforcement officers used divers, dogs and aircraft to search the area, looking for evidence.

Six did say the body had been burned beyond recognition. It had to be taken to the Sedgwick County Regional Forensics Center in Wichita for an autopsy and the results, which were based on dental records, weren’t known until late Wednesday night.

Six called on anyone with information, or who called or texted DeBolt Saturday night to contact authorities. But, "we as that you respect the family’s privacy."

As for there being a killer at large, Six said the community can take comfort in the fact that law enforcement is working around the clock. "They are working hard to ensure public safety."

As the probe remains in the preliminary stages, Six said local officers and KBI agents are following many leads and encouraged the public to help. However, "in this age of social media, there are a lot of rumors going around," and these can cause false leads that hinder the investigation.

He said they were using all the resources of his office as well as those of the other agencies involved. "We will not rest until someone is brought to justice."

It is horrible when anyone is killed, but DeBolt was a child and Six said that makes it even more heart-wrenching.

"I am asking all Kansans and everyone to hold her family in their prayers," Six said. He also asked for prayers for DeBolt’s friends and classmates at Great Bend High School.

The conference attracted the attention of some residents across the street and passersby on South Washington Street. A small crowd of local and area residents was also on hand. "I have five kids and they won’t be out of my sight until they get somebody," said a Great Bend mother.

DeBolt would have been a freshman and cheerleader at Great Bend High School and counselors there will work with students, said Principal Time Friess. "We are extremely saddened by the event of Alicia’s death.

"It is such a tragedy. Our prayers are with the family," he said. "We will continue to do what we do, which is educate students, and help them in any way we can. Our counselors will meet with students and deal with it as best as we can."

"This community cares for each of its children," said Tom Vernon, Unified School District 428 superintendent. "We are saddened that this has happened to one of our own.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeBolt family in this, their time of incredible sadness," Vernon said. "Our focus now is on our students who have been affected by this tragedy."

Friess said that school will not be dismissed for the funeral, once plans are made. Parents will be able to sign out their children on an individual basis.

"We want to keep things as normal for our student population as possible," he said.

 

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