A Kansas Teen Was Stalked Through A Target Store Before Her Abduction And Murder
Kelsey Smith was running a quick errand in Overland Park, Kansas, when she was abducted and killed.
Recent high school graduate Kelsey Smith was getting ready for a date with her boyfriend when she told her father, Greg, that she was going to Target to purchase a gift to celebrate the couple’s six-month anniversary on June 2, 2007.
The future Kansas State University student pulled out of the driveway at 6:30 that evening; she had only an hour to get to Target and back before her boyfriend, John Biersmith, was set to pick her up for their date.
Once at Target, Kelsey called her mother, Missey, to ask where she could find a gift box. It was the last time anybody heard from Kelsey again.
John arrived at the Smith family home where Greg and Missey had already expected their daughter back around 7:30 p.m. Each of them tried to reach her, but calls and texts went unanswered. Kelsey’s family and boyfriend went to Target to see if her car was still there, but there was no sign of the 18–year-old there either.
Greg, an off-duty police officer, called dispatchers and other officers he knew to find out if there’d been a car accident or traffic stop that might explain Kelsey’s absence, but there were no reports that matched Kelsey’s description. John returned to Target to look for Kelsey again, but he took a detour through the parking lot of a nearby mall. There, parked outside the Macy’s department store, was Kelsey’s vehicle.
It was 11 p.m., almost five hours since Kelsey had left home to go to Target.
Police were called to the scene where they roped off the area around the car and began to process it for fingerprints and evidence. There didn’t appear to have been a struggle inside the vehicle, and Kelsey’s purse and the gift for John was still on the passenger seat.
The next morning, officers obtained surveillance footage from 40 cameras that captured Kelsey’s shopping trip at Target. They watched as she arrived at the store and browsed the aisles; they could even see the phone call she made to her mother about the gift box. The officers watched as Kelsey paid for her items and exited the store to get back into her car after less than 10 minutes inside.
Meanwhile, surveillance footage from outside the Macy’s showed Kelsey’s vehicle arriving at 9:17 p.m. A figure in a white shirt hopped from the driver’s seat and hurried away from the vehicle.
Police again went back to the Target footage to see if there was someone similar in the store or parking lot at the same time as Kelsey. When they rewatched the footage, they had a clear view of a white male wearing a white shirt and dark shorts trailing an unknowing Kelsey through the store. The male hurried from the store once Kelsey went to the check out and then rushed at her as she went to get back into the driver’s side of her vehicle. It appeared that the figure likely shoved Kelsey into her vehicle and climbed in after her to take control of the wheel.
Police released footage of the suspect to the media and tips began pouring in as search crews continued to scour the area looking for the missing teen. It didn’t take long before officers finally had a good tip — a caller to the tip line said to talk to a 33-year-old man named Edwin Hall. As police looked for Hall, search crews found Kelsey’s body on June 6, 2007, in a wooded area about 45 minutes from the Target where she was abducted.
When police found Hall, they took his fingerprints, and they were reportedly a match to the ones found inside Kelsey’s vehicle on the steering wheel and seat belt.
Hall was charged with aggravated kidnapping, two counts of rape, and murder - all of which he pleaded guilty to in July 2008 in order to avoid the death penalty. Hall was sentenced to life in prison; he is housed at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, Kansas.
For more on this case, stream See No Evil: “We See You, Kelsey” on discovery+. More episodes of See No Evil air Wednesdays at 9/8c on ID.
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