3 Killings Deepen the Mystery of 2 Missing Children
An Oregon mother who disappeared with her two young daughters a month ago was shot to death and dumped in the Nevada desert, but her baby and toddler remain missing, police said Tuesday.
“We are deeply concerned about the whereabouts of the two kids,” Washoe County Sheriff Dennis Balaam said.
Kimyala Henson, 21, of Portland, Ore., was last seen April 5 in Northern California with the two young girls and a couple who has since died in an apparent murder-suicide in Florida.
The couple are suspected in Henson’s death, Balaam said Tuesday.
“We don’t have a motive at this point,” he said. “Everybody that really has any information as far as our investigation goes is dead.”
Balaam said the partially buried body found in the high desert north of Reno on April 29 has been positively identified as that of Henson.
The dead couple, Frank Oehring, 28, and Christina Mayer, 24, are the only suspects in Henson’s death, he said.
Balaam said police searched 100 square miles around where Henson’s body was discovered but turned up no trace of 4-month-old Shausa Kirkpatrick or 2-year-old Shaina Ashly Kirkpatrick.
“I don’t really have much hope, to tell you the truth,” said Steven Kirkpatrick, Henson’s live-in boyfriend and the father of the missing girls. “I’m trying to let the shock wear off,” Kirkpatrick said in Portland. “I’m at a loss over why this happened.”
Henson’s body was found by a motorist who pulled off a two-lane highway to rest near Pyramid Lake about 37 miles north of Wadsworth, Nev.
Henson and the children had set out on a trip with Oehring and Mayer on April 4 and were last seen April 5 in Redding, Calif. Oehring and his girlfriend Mayer died at a rest stop in Collier County, Fla., April 20.
Oehring was believed to be “affiliated with satanic worship activities,” the sheriff said. “Any possible connection with Oehring’s satanic beliefs and the death of Kimyala Henson and the disappearance of her children has not been established.”
Mayer was a former childhood friend of Henson.
Florida authorities determined that Oehring, a Missouri fugitive wanted on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the attempted strangulation of his ex-wife, shot Mayer with a .22-caliber rifle and then turned it on himself. Both died of gunshot wounds to the head.
Florida law enforcement officials found Henson’s wallet and credit cards in a red car parked at the rest area and traced the transactions. Investigators suspect they were fraudulently signed by Mayer.
A diaper bag found in the car was the only sign of the missing children.
Before she left Oregon, Henson told her family she planned to travel with the couple to Alameda, Calif., to get a copy of her birth certificate before heading north for a two-week trip to Canada.
Investigators said that someone picked up a copy of Henson’s birth certificate in California on April 5. A copy of the certificate, ripped in half, was found in a trash can at the Florida rest area.
From April 6 to 9, two of Henson’s credit cards were used in Nevada and then continuously used for gas and food purchases during a trip east. The Collier County, Fla., sheriff’s office has verified that Mayer obtained a fraudulent Nevada identification card that depicted Mayer as Henson.