A Wichita man's life is cut short at the young age of 23. His murder has gone unsolved for the past 10 months, but police say they're close to having the information they need to get a killer off the streets.
It was late one night in early September of last year. 23 year-old Elisha Staten was found dead behind a transmission shop near Pawnee and Meridian in Wichita. Right from the start, police knew this was no accident. It's just finding that one piece of information - that one person - who will step forward and pass along the information needed to solve this cold case.
"People driving down Meridian noticed a vehicle on fire and the fire department responded," said WPD homicide detective Tim Relph. "Upon extinguishing the fire, they determined there was a body inside the car."
The fire wasn't caused by anything mechanical. It was clearly arson and Staten clearly didn't die because of the fire. He had been shot beforehand.
"We know from talking to people in the area that the car could have been there for as many as 3-4 days prior to the fire itself," Relph explained.
There lies part of the mystery. Staten's body probably wasn't dead in the car for that long. Somebody surely would have reported it. So how did his body get to the vehicle after it had been there for that long? The presence of the car itself wasn't a shock. It was parked near a transmission shop. People likely assumed that it was waiting to be worked on.
It's also no secret that the young man had a very active nightlife. Detectives say Staten certainly spent time in some of the popular night clubs and that he did have a criminal record. He was in contact with lots of people who very likely know how he died and who did it.
"Right now it's not a lack of direction. It's not a lack of suspects or things to pursue," said Relph. "It's more of a need to direct our resources into a specific direction."
Somebody out there knows. If it's you, call Crime Stoppers at 267-2111. You can always remain anonymous and if your tip leads to an arrest or conviction, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Nobody will ever ask your name. Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County is a non-profit organization of citizens against crime.