Previously in “Final Moments,” we saw the story of Heather Maples. Her dreams of going to college were crushed by a man who killed her ruthlessly. In this episode of “Final Moments,” our focus is on the story of a young girl from Overland Park, Kansas, Kelsey Smith. Was she kidnapped? What happened to her? Let’s find out.
Kelsey Smith was from Overland Park, Kansas, and was a high school graduate. She was 18 years old and was ready to attend Kansas University. Kelsey had a boyfriend named John, and on June 2nd, 2007, they were ready to celebrate their sixth-month anniversary. Kelsey and John had planned a date for the evening of June 2nd. Kelsey wanted to buy a gift for her boyfriend from Target. Upon reaching the store, Kelsey called her mother to ask her something regarding John’s gift, and unfortunately, that was the last time her mother ever spoke to her.
When John reached Kelsey’s place to pick her up, he was informed that she had not returned from the store. Kelsey was not answering text messages or calls, which was an alarming sign for her family. Soon, John and Kelsey’s sister Lindsey drove to Target to find out where she was. Meanwhile, Kelsey’s father, who was a veteran cop, called the police department to check if there had been any accidents in the area. To their surprise, Lindsey and John found Kelsey’s car parked in a mall parking lot that was across the street from Target, where she had gone in the evening. Lindsey and John left the vehicle untouched and called the cops. Upon investigating the vehicle, the police found Kelsey’s purse in the car, but her phone was not there. They checked the car’s trunk, and everyone was scared, thinking they might find Kelsey inside; however, she was not in the trunk. The car was sent to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office crime lab for DNA and fingerprints. After that, Kelsey’s family and her boyfriend were brought in for questioning. They were asked where they were during the time Kelsey stopped answering her phone. However, all of them had alibis that checked out, so they were ruled out as suspects.
The authorities then decided to obtain Kelsey’s phone records. They wanted to know who she was talking to and wanted some possible leads. However, the phone company prevented the police from getting the records immediately. The police then went to Target to obtain CCTV footage of the day Kelsey was in the store. The video showed Kelsey walking into the store and then going out. She also put her things in the car and drove away. At this point, the police were not sure if she had been abducted or not, but that was going to change soon. While they continued searching for Kelsey, the officers decided to look at the CCTV footage again, this time on a bigger screen. They noticed that a male figure was stalking Kelsey and was even seen near her car when she drove off. The police obtained his image and spread it in the media. When the image was released, the police got tips from all over the place. However, the majority of them were not valid, according to Officer Andrew Black, who worked on the tip line. However, some of the tips stood out for them. There was a name that was repeatedly being heard, and it was Edwin Hall. The investigators searched for a driving license photo and were able to match Edwin Hall’s description with the male figure that was stalking Kelsey Smith in Target. However, Edwin Hall had multiple addresses, and the police could not track him down. On June 6th, four days after the disappearance of Kelsey Smith, a tipster said she recognized the man in the picture and knew where he lived. However, she said the name of this individual was Jack. The police now had two suspects and went to question Jack. Upon reaching his place, the police found out that he was ready to leave the town with his partner and children to go on a trip. However, when he was questioned, Jack told the police that his real name was Edwin Hall.
During the investigation, Edwin Hall denied ever seeing Kelsey Smith and even offered DNA samples to get his name cleared. The police had to let him go; however, they received a call from a waitress at a local restaurant. She informed the police that he had misbehaved with her and left the restaurant without paying his bill. He was then arrested for theft, but he laughed at the police, saying he would get out of jail in two days. Around the same time, Kelsey’s phone records were in the police’s hands. Her last location was Longview Lake. When the police searched the area, they found a body that matched the description of Kelsey Smith. After the body was examined, the results said that Kelsey Smith had been sexually assaulted, and the cause of her death was strangulation. After the discovery of Kelsey’s body, the police found out that Edwin Hall’s thumbprint was present on the back of the driver’s seat belt in Kelsey’s car. Edwin Hall was soon arrested, and to avoid the death penalty, he pleaded guilty. Eighteen months after Kelsey’s death, Edwin Hall was sentenced to life imprisonment. The disappearance and murder of Kelsey Smith are a tragic reminder of the dangers that lurk in our communities. It’s also a testament to the power of the community and the strength of Kelsey’s family, who worked tirelessly to find her and bring her killer to justice.