Girl was staying at shelter before she died
Mother reports that her daughter, of Garden City, ran away from girls home.Saturday, July 9, 2011
Although Akings declined to release the girl's name, citing an ongoing investigation into the suspicious death, The Garden City Telegram identified the girl as Jessica Cheyanne Shearer of Garden City.
Shearer's mother, Alida Potter of Garden City, told The Telegram her daughter had been staying at the girls home for a couple of months before running away.
Joseph J. Rykiel, 30, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree murder and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Akings said investigators are focusing on the suspected aggravated indecent liberties, and formal charges against Rykiel were being prepared late Thursday.
Jackie McHolland, 39, and his fiancee, Mary Coker, 27, told The News on Wednesday they have been renting a room in their basement at 2509 Walnut to Rykiel since Feb. 23. They came home from out of town on the Fourth of July to find police at their house and learn the girl had been found dead in their basement.
Police were called to the home at 5:10 p.m. Monday on the report of a female with respiratory problems, but when officers arrived, they found the 15-year-old girl had died from "unknown medical causes," according to Akings.
McHolland said his prescription medication was found on Rykiel, and the locked box he kept his prescription medications in, including morphine, had been "pried open."
"She ran away, and somehow she met up with this guy," Alida Potter, Shearer's mother, told The Telegram.
When contacted by phone Thursday, an employee at Barton County Youth Care Inc. in Great Bend declined to comment. The shelter offers level IV care to girls for the state of Kansas, according to a 2009 annual report filed by the nonprofit organization. Barton County Youth Care is licensed for in-home foster care, said Gary Brooks, a former board member.
Kansas Department of Corrections records show Rykiel, 30, previously served time in prison for multiple convictions, including aggravated robbery in 2002 in Labette County. He was previously paroled to Reno County in 2007, violated parole and then was paroled out of state to Tennessee in 2009 before his sentence expired Feb. 13.
Rykiel had been working for a Great Bend concrete company.