On August 13, at about 8:36 p.m., Barton County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to 397 Grove Terrace near the airport west of Great Bend. 911 dispatchers had received a call concerning a disturbance and reported shots fired. Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Kansas Highway Patrol checked the residence and discovered the body of a 34-year-old white male at the rear of the building, Sheriff Brian Bellendir reports. The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
Deputies were able to develop suspect information from witnesses and an “attempt to locate” bulletin was broadcast.
Members of the Great Bend Fire Department who were returning from an accident scene had heard the broadcast and spotted the suspect vehicle on South Main Street in Great Bend. The fire department notified 911 dispatchers who in turn sent law enforcement to the area. Members of the Barton County Sheriff’s Office and the Great Bend Police Department stopped the vehicle on Railroad Avenue between Washington and Main. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
Nicholas A. Pethel, age 23, of rural Great Bend was arrested and transported to the Barton County Jail. Pethel was booked on murder charges and is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond.
The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will be assisting with the homicide investigation.
More information will be released as it becomes available.