Hutch Arrests Raise Questions About Unsolved Murder

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, August 29, 2011

There may be new information on an unsolved murder case that has gripped Hutchinson for the last two months. Three people were arrested last week and are being held on extremely high bonds, but police will not confirm that they could be connected to the death of Jenny Heckel.

It is certainly raising many questions, none of which are getting answered by police, the courts, or the district attorney.

Back on June 14, Jenny Heckel was murdered inside her North Hutchinson home. Her 5-year-old son escaped and ran to a neighbor for help. But now, three Hutchinson residents have been arrested for conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. What's raising eyebrows is that one of the men is being held with a bond of $500,000. Typically, robbery cases have a bond in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Another man and a woman are also being held on $100,000 and $150,000 bonds for the same charge. KAKE News looked up their records and all three do have previous convictions for drug offenses and a forgery case, but clearly nothing serious enough that would warrant a half-a-million dollar bond.

KAKE News is not naming the three simply because authorities won't say if they are, in fact, connected to the Jenny Heckel murder. But something has clearly heightened their awareness in this case.

There was an initial hearing in Reno County District Court Monday for two of the defendants. At that hearing all of the investigators, including KBI agents who are investigating the Heckel case, attended. Mere coincidence? At this point, nobody is willing to talk.

"If you think that's the only reason they're being held, you're wrong," said Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder. "However, I will do nothing to jeopardize the homicide case. I will not confirm nor deny it. We are exploring every possible option."

All three of the arrestees are scheduled for a first appearance on Wednesday, in which a public criminal complaint should be filed.

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