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Body of Kidnapped Kansas Girl, 10, Found

Crime: A suspect is arrested after manhunt in the death of Pamela Butler. She vanished while roller skating earlier this week.

October 16, 1999|From Associated Press

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The body of a 10-year-old Kansas girl was found in a rural area Friday, three days after she was abducted in front of her home while roller skating with her sister, her parents said.

The FBI would not disclose how Pamela Butler died and said it did not know whether she had been sexually assaulted.

A suspect, Keith B. Nelson, 24, was captured Thursday after a manhunt in Kansas City, Kan., where the girl lived. He was charged with kidnapping.

In court papers, the FBI quoted a co-worker of Nelson as saying that Nelson told him two weeks ago that he "would like to kidnap a girl to rape, torture, electrocute, kill and bury."

FBI Agent Monte Strait confirmed that the body and some clothing found separately matched the fifth-grader's description. The body was not buried but was covered with sticks.

More than 100 officers had searched a field and woods Friday in Grain Valley, about 25 miles from the girl's home. The body was found near a church where a pickup truck believed to have been used in the kidnapping was spotted a few hours after Pamela disappeared Tuesday.

"They found her. That's all I can say," Pamela's father, Paul Butler, said tearfully said outside her home.

Pamela was skating Tuesday evening when her 11-year-old sister, Penny, saw a man get out of a white pickup, grab Pamela around the waist and throw her into the cab.

"I started screaming, and so did she," said Penny, who was on her front porch at the time. She yelled for an older sister to call police.

Witnesses reported a license number after they chased the truck but couldn't keep up.

The truck was registered to a company formerly owned by David Cunningham, Nelson's boss. Cunningham said Nelson had been driving the truck for two weeks, the FBI said.

Nelson was captured after he was spotted near the Kansas River. Police said he tried to swim away as officers approached.

While authorities searched for Pamela, classmates decorated her home with cards made out of construction paper and gave teddy bears.

Pamela's mother, Cherri West, had appealed to the kidnapper to give back her daughter.

"For someone to come here and do this, it's just not right," she said. "She was just a little girl. She had a whole life ahead."

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