Beyond Cold Blood
The KBI from Ma Barker to BTK
A Kansas Notable Book
Ma Barker and Pretty Boy Floyd once shot their way across the state, and Bonnie and Clyde were known to travel within its borders. Between 1933 and 1938, thirty bank robberies occurred in Kansas, while livestock thefts also grew at an alarming rate. Little wonder, then, that pressure was brought to bear on the state legislature to create a Kansas counterpart to the Texas Rangers or FBI.
“A remarkable whodunit for readers interested in some of the state’s most gruesome modern crimes.”
“Welch’s (former director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation) book is both a history of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) as an organization and a retelling of some of the major crimes that have occurred in the state. Welch gets readers to care about the people involved in helping protect the public.”
—Library JournalSee all reviews...
“The KBI has earned a niche in the Law Enforcement Hall of Fame with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Texas Rangers, Scotland Yard, and the FBI [and] Welch has produced a wonderful read. He tells how many notorious criminals—ranging from the In Cold Blood murderers to the Wichita serial killer BTK—were apprehended and brought to justice.”
—Stephen Jones, author of Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy
“Readers of true crime will be fascinated by this book. No one is better equipped than Larry Welch to walk them through the crime scenes.”
—John Douglas, author of Mind Hunter: Inside the FBIs Elite Serial Crime Unit
“My home state of Kansas has seen some of the most notorious crimes in American history. Welch has done a great service by showing how, time and again, Kansas law enforcement has done the difficult legwork necessary to protect the rest of us from danger.”
—Stephen Singular, author of The Wichita Divide: The Murder of Dr. George Tiller and the Battle over Abortion and Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer
“A significant contribution. Especially in light of the public’s fascination with all things investigative in nature (e.g., CSI shows on television), there will be a broad market for this book, both within and outside of law enforcement.”
—Kenneth J. Peak, author of Policing America: Methods, Issues, ChallengesSee fewer reviews...
Larry Welch, tenth director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, now provides readers with the first history of that agency, spanning the years 1939-2007. His account includes, among other things, detailed case studies of the KBI's participation in the high-profile arrests of serial killers Francis Donald Nemechek of western Kansas and Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK of Wichita. His taut chapters also highlight the relentless investigators, dedicated forensic scientists, crime analysts, and everyone else who has labored on behalf of the KBI's pursuit of justice. They take readers behind the headlines to reveal how KBI agents played a key role in capturing Richard Hickock and Perry Smith of In Cold Blood fame, and consider other high profile cases such as Gary Kleypas's murder of a Pittsburg State student and KU student Shannon Martin's killing in Costa Rica.
Born between the Great Depression and World War II as a select group of ten investigators, the bureau's earliest assignments reflected the needs of the time: bank robbery, homicide, gangsters, livestock theft (especially cattle rustling), and narcotics (notably "marihuana weed"). Welch shares the episode that established the KBI in the public eye, an attempted 1941 bank robbery in Macksville where two escapees from Lansing prison refused to surrender and died in a Main Street shootout with KBI agents. He then brings readers up to the activities of today's staff of 300—including a Cold Case Squad and state-of-the-art forensic labs—as it tackles the scourge of the new century, methamphetamine, and cybercrime, including child pornography and identity theft.
Readers will thrill to the persistence and ingenuity evidenced by these accounts of bringing infamous criminals to justice—and even exonerating the wrongly convicted. Beyond Cold Blood blends true crime and institutional history to make must reading for all aficionados of danger.