KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City-area man was arrested Saturday in the killings of two prostitutes whose bodies were found posed on the side of rural Missouri roads nearly a year apart.
At a news conference Saturday night, authorities said Derek Richardson, 27, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abandonment of a corpse. His bail is set at $2 million. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney.
"We absolutely stopped a person who was going to kill again," said Kansas City police Sgt. Doug Niemeier, adding that authorities will search across the United States to ensure there weren't other victims.
"We do know that he had travels elsewhere," Niemeier said, "so we will be contacting those states just to make sure."
Police announced earlier this month that the deaths of Tamara Sparks and Nicoleone Reed were linked and asked the public for help. Police said they believed whoever was responsible for the deaths also was the person who lost a size 11, canvas, Crocs-brand shoe at the site where Sparks' body was found.
Niemeier said a tipster contacted police Thursday night because of the description of the shoe.
"Basically the tip was to say he was the one and the shoe was what really matched it," Niemeier said.
Police began trailing Richardson and arrested him late Saturday morning. Niemeier said Richardson confessed to the "intimate details of the crime" and that he didn't know the victims beforehand.
Sparks, 40, was found dead Oct. 4, 2011, on the far northeast side of Kansas City, and Reed, 24, was found Aug. 21 in rural Kearney, northeast of Kansas City. Both bodies were in spots where they could easily be seen, with their pants pulled down and shirts pulled up.
Both women were last seen on St. John Avenue near Independence Avenue in northeast Kansas City, where they worked as prostitutes, police said.
Earlier this month, police said a third woman, who lived on the same street where Sparks and Reed were last seen, was found dumped in late 2011 along the side of a road in Caldwell County, southeast of Cameron. She survived. But authorities didn't say Saturday if her case was connected.
"We have a tremendous amount of follow-up to do now that we have answered some of our own questions," Niemeier said, adding that it "feels good when you can tell a victim's family that their case has been resolved."