KSN Investigates: KBI shortage

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Murder, rape and aggravated assault are just three crimes authorities are seeing more of in Kansas, and there’s a shortage of Kansas Bureau of Investigations agents to investigate.

KSN News is looking at how it’s impacting one case.

It’s been almost three years, since one of Lori Heimer’s daughters found her murdered inside the family’s Saline County home. There have been no arrests, and the family is hoping a new group of KBI agents might help provide answers.

She was a caretaker of children and animals with a love for life.

“Light hearted, friendly and a beautiful, loud laugh,” said Genell Heimer, Lori’s daughter.

Lori Heimer was a dog breeder, a farmer’s wife, a mother to four girls and a grandmother. Lori was murdered in June of 2016, a crime that shocked all who knew her.

“It was such a brutal and up close homicide that it led them to believe that this was something that was personal, someone really had to have hatred to inflict these type of wounds,” said Genell.

“My oldest remembers grandma, my oldest was very close to my mom, and she talks about her all the time, and her grief is pretty deep,” said Joni Alexander, Lori’s daughter.

The family farmhouse in Assaria is now a mixture of happiness and grief.

“I didn’t want to lose all the good memories and the good things that had happened in that house, even though this terrible thing happened, and you can’t walk through hallway without seeing the blood that we saw on the floor and on the walls,” said Genell.

To this day, her daughters have no idea what happened to their mom.

“It’s just gut wrenching, we carry a lot of weight on our shoulders, and it never goes away, and we’re always always trying to think and plan and come up with new ideas, what can we do to push the KBI?” said Joni.

They’re concerned because their mother’s case has been passed between three separate KBI agents in the last two and a half years.

“There’s something to be said about experience and continuity of like, now I have to catch up on two years of reports, how do you even begin to know all that’s happened?” said Genell.

GALLERY | LORI HEIMER

A group of 21 agents in training, the largest recruit class in KBI history, could help provide answers for the Heimers. The group is training for new assignments.

“I just know that as we began to get low on some of our agent numbers, we had to turn away some of our cases that we might normally want to work, so that’s why having a class that big is so important to us,” said Jared Underwood, KBI Assistant Special Agent in charge of training.

Underwood leads training at the KBI and says the recruits will go a long way in addressing retirements, agent fatigue and the increase in violent crime.

Jarrod Gill is part of this class and says he joined to help crack high level felony investigations in Kansas.

“Some of the things that KBI agents are witnessed to are pretty horrific and people at their worst, but at the end of the day, I think what makes the most difference is seeking the justice that needs to be sought,” said Jarrod Gill, KBI Special Agent.

That justice, is what Lori’s daughters hope will come from this new group of recruits.

“That was one of our problems was we always felt like we were competing with all these other cases to try and get attention, and get resources, and get agents, so that is one thing I’m glad to see, that they are increasing their class numbers because we desperately need it,” said Lynnsey Heimer, Lori’s daughter.

And they believe those answers are coming soon.

“I agree. I think it’s coming. I don’t know when, but I do think that someday we’ll know,” said Joni.

The KBI says they are actively pursuing Lori’s case but there is no update at this time. If you know any information on her death, you can report it anonymously at 1-800-KS-CRIME, and there’s a $36,000 Crime Stoppers reward.

RELATED LINK | KBI Crime Index Report

According to the agency’s most recent Crime Index Report from 2017, violent crimes are up. They say 2017 had an increase of 6.3 percent in violent crimes like murder. The analysis shows Kansas has seen a 23.1 percent increase in violent crime over the past three years.

The KBI’s report shows the number of murders specifically increased from 2016 to 2017 by 18.9 percent. It states the same applies for the number of rapes reported in Kansas.

Click the chart below for more statistics.

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