• Last modified 1923 days ago (Jan. 16, 2014)


2 nabbed in all-night manhunt

Staff writers

An intense manhunt by police and deputies, aided by a Highway Patrol helicopter with an infrared camera, scoured southwest Marion County all night Monday and into the day Tuesday in search of what was thought to be a ring of car thieves.

The manhunt began with a citizen’s hunch about suspicious individuals at a convenience store in Hillsboro and didn’t end until a second tip from another resident who spotted a suspicious individual walking along a county road the following morning.

Randy Eitzen of rural Peabody initially notified authorities at 7:32 p.m. Monday after he spotted two people whom he thought, based on intuition alone, might have stolen a pickup from his farm on New Year’s Eve.

“I didn’t recognize them so much as he had two earrings in his ears and not many teeth, and some kind of alarm went off,” Eitzen said. “They were acting suspicious, and that’s how I knew something was wrong. When you think long enough, you put two and two together.”

Eitzen told dispatchers he thought the suspects were looking for vehicles that would be easy to steal.

Deputies quickly began searching along Indigo Rd. south of Hillsboro, which Eitzen suspected would be their target. Eitzen, meanwhile, called residents of the area and warned them to secure their vehicles.

Some were afraid to go outside, he said, but he later learned the suspects weren’t armed.

Half an hour after Eitzen’s initial call, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office, deputies observed someone attempting to steal a vehicle from Eitzen’s property at 1028 110th Rd., Peabody — a different location from the one where Eitzen’s pickup was stolen New Year’s Eve.

When deputies approached, a female sped off in a teal 2002 Ford Taurus with Sedgwick County tags and a male fled on foot.

After a lengthy but fruitless search by multiple officers in cars and on foot, aided by dogs and a helicopter, the Taurus was found abandoned near the intersection of Nighthawk and 110th Rds.

Hours later, around 3 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office, a suspect identified as Jennifer Humphrey of Salina was found and taken into custody.

A second suspect, identified at Anthony Magee of Wichita, was not apprehended until 9 a.m., near the intersection of Limestone and 90th Rds., after authorities received a tip from a resident of the area.

Sheriff Rob Craft was continuing his investigation at press time and no further information was available.

“The evil of it is, just because they got those two, doesn’t mean there are not four,” Eitzen said. “I’m still on the lookout. You just don’t know.”

Last modified Jan. 16, 2014