DA warns parents to be aware and not leave kids in car

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr., center, warned parents to be more alert in the wake of a car theft on Wednesday with a child in the back seat. With him at the news conference on Friday were U.S. Marshal Ron Miller, left, and Kansas City, Kansas, Police Major Curtis Nicholson, right. (Staff photo)

District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr. today warned parents to be aware, in the wake of the theft of a car on Wednesday with a child in the back seat.

Charges were filed today against Tyler Ryan Letzig and Karri Anne Reich in connection to the child abduction case that started at 7th and Riverview in Kansas City, Kansas, according to the Wyandotte County district attorney’s office. The charges for both persons were kidnapping, aggravated endangering a child, and theft, Dupree said.

Letzig is in custody in the Leavenworth County Jail, having been taken into custody by Leavenworth County sheriff’s officers, and Reich is still at large, according to the district attorney’s office. Bond was set at $100,000 for Letzig.

The preschool child was found safe in a car parked in a rural area of Leavenworth County, far from any houses, on Wednesday, according to Dupree. The child had been asleep in the back of the car at the time of the car theft, according to Dupree.

The child was only in the car about two minutes while the parent went inside, until the car was stolen, and Dupree said those two minutes turned into the longest two hours of the parent’s life.

“If you do not have time to unbuckle your child and take them into the store, leave them at home with a sitter,” Dupree advised local parents today. “It is too hot to leave them in the car, but above that, we have too many knuckleheads that are lurking and working to take a vehicle, not caring if your child is in the car.”

Parents need to give their children better protection, he said.

“We are going to make sure justice is done, but it is my hope that no child is ever taken away from their parent again by the misstep or the mistake of their parent leaving their child unattended. It is not OK and it is not right, and as a parent, you need to give your child better and more support and protection,” Dupree said.

District Attorney Mark Dupree

“The outcome could have been way worse,” he added.

With Dupree at the news conference today were U.S. Marshal Ron Miller and Kansas City, Kansas, Police Major Curtis Nicholson.

Dupree commended the combined efforts of the U.S. Marshal’s staff, DEA, FBI, Tonganoxie and Basehor police departments, Kansas Highway Patrol, Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department and Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.

He also commended television station helicopters that helped locate the car and child in the rural area.

Dupree said the investigation is ongoing into this case.

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