Police: Wichita AMBER Alert suspect 'bludgeoned' woman, set house fire

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House fire on Ash Street Friday, June 2, 2017 | Courtesy Wichita Fire Department House fire on Ash Street Friday, June 2, 2017 | Courtesy Wichita Fire Department
Reyona Caldwell Reyona Caldwell

Wichita police continue investigating the city's 18th homicide of the year that led to an AMBER Alert for three children on Friday.

It began at around 12:20 p.m. when fire crews were called to a house fire in the 300 block of North Ash Street. Police Lt. Jason Stephens said search crews found the body of a woman in her 30s in the basement, where it is believed the fire originated.

The victim's friends and family identified her as Reyona Caldwell. There is also a GoFundMe page to help her children at Reyona's Boys (A Memorial Fund).

"It was determined that this female had been bludgeoned and then a fire had intentionally been set," Lt. Stephens said. "The suspect had fled the scene."

Woman chases down suspect who prompted AMBER Alert

Investigators learned that the suspect, 29-year-old Dane Wright, likely had three children, ages 11, 5 and 2, with him.

"Because of the seriousness of the crime and the fact that he had these children with him, it was believed these children were in imminent danger, therefore the KBI was contacted and ... we issued an AMBER Alert."

After receiving numerous tips Friday evening, police learned the children were in a room at the Heritage Inn at 4539 South Broadway. They were located and were unharmed. 

"Also in the immediate area, officers located the suspect, Dane Wright, and arrested him."

Wright was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail for first-degree murder, aggravated arson and three counts of endangering a child. He was also jailed on two counts of failure to appear. His bond was set at $501,200. 

Lt. Stephens said since a proper forensic identification of the victim has not yet been made, he would not officially release her name. Again, her friends and family identified her as Reyona Caldwell. 

Stephens added that the house on Ash Street was Dane Wright's. 

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