Homicide investigation widens

Fulton investigators call Francis Kempker a “person of interest.”
Thursday, June 16, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:08 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Investigators are looking for a 34-year-old Fulton man identified as a “person of interest” in the death of a 28-year-old woman.


Francis H. Kempker lived across the street from Shawnda Reed, who was found dead in her home at 414 Tanglewood Way in Fulton on June 7, investigators said.


Court documents show a warrant was issued Monday for Kempker’s arrest in connection with a burglary on Tanglewood Way, near Reed’s home, in May. He has been charged with second-degree burglary and felony theft.


In court documents, Fulton police said Kempker’s whereabouts, as of Monday, were unknown and that he is avoiding police.


Earlier in the week, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Clark said investigators did not think the May burglary and Reed’s death were connected.


Clark said investigators searched a residence over the weekend at 3204 Nicklaus Court in connection with the burglary.


Court documents show Kempker lived at 3204 Nicklaus Court, where items taken from a home at 3213 Tanglewood Way were found by police.


According to a warrant, a court date for Kempker’s burglary charge has been set for Friday in Callaway County.


Kempker pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering the welfare of a child in 1998, according to court documents. He received a six-month suspended jail sentence and two years of supervised probation.


Kempker is a 6-foot-6, 285-pound white male with brown hair and blue eyes.


Neighbors and a real estate agent said Kempker had worked in the construction of several houses in Reed’s neighborhood, including her home.


Kempker is the third man identified by investigators as a person of interest in Reed’s death. Reed’s husband, John T. Reed, and ex-husband, Nickey Kmiec, were both identified and contacted by police last week. Police excluded Kmiec as a person of interest earlier this week after investigators found he has been serving a yearlong prison sentence in Iowa since August for lascivious conduct with a child. Shawnda Reed’s mother, Judith Slote, filed an order of protection on behalf of Shawnda’s three children against John Reed on June 9, claiming he was a “suspect” in her daughter’s death.


Clark has declined to call John Reed a suspect in Shawnda’s homicide and said the ex parte order has “no bearing” on the criminal investigation.

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