Courts & Crime

Wichita has more 'Stranger Murders' than most

When Patricia Smith and Patricia Magers were shot to death in an East Kellogg bridal shop in April 1992, it was a classic case of stranger murder.

Homicide records compiled by the FBI show that Wichita police have investigated more than 100 "stranger murders" since 1980.

The 24 percent stranger rate among all murders in the city is well above the national average of 16 percent and the statewide average of 14.3 percent.

But in reality, police said, true stranger killings like the ones that occurred at the La'Bride d'Elegance bridal shop are extremely rare.

Lt. Ken Landwehr said the FBI criteria label a homicide as a "stranger killing" whenever a victim and offender don't know each other.

"Almost all of your robberies are going to be stranger murders," he said. "Those are listed as 'stranger,' but they're cases where people were killed because they were witnesses."

Read the complete story at