Suspect Charged in Kelsey Smith Murder

First-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping charges have been filed against 26-year-old Edwin Hall, who's accused of killing Overland Park teenager Kelsey Smith.

Bond is set at $5 million and an arraignment was tentatively set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe. The district attorney's office says Hall is jailed in nearby Gardner and is expected to attend the appearance via video.

If convicted Hall faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder charge and 147 months for the aggravated kidnapping.

Attorney General Phill Kline says the death penalty has not been taken off the table, but there is plenty of time to collect evidence and make that decision.

Police arrested Hall hours after Smith's body was found in a park south of Kansas City, Missouri. The 18-year-old Smith had been missing since Saturday evening when she was forced into her car outside a Target store and abducted.

Overland Park police say Hall was interviewed after they received a tip that matched Hall and a vehicle to surveillance video from the Target parking lot.

Early Wednesday afternoon, searchers found a body at Longview Lake near Grandview, Missouri, about 15 miles east of Overland Park.

Officers were searching at the lake after tracing signals from Smith's cell phone.

Douglass said Hall was interviewed mid-afternoon Wednesday after police acted on a tip that matched Hall and a vehicle to surveillance video from the Target store parking lot in suburban Kansas City where Smith was abducted Saturday evening.

"The arrest of Edwin Hall is the result of thousands of hours of investigation over the last four days. He is currently in custody in the Johnson County Jail awaiting formal charges, which we believe will be filed in the early morning."

Smith's body was found about 1:30 p.m. across the state line near Grandview, Mo., about 20 miles east of the abduction site in Overland Park, Kan.

Douglass declined to comment on circumstances of Hall's questioning or evidence in the case, but said police had located a vehicle that matches the description of one seen in surveillance video pulling into the Target parking lot about a minute after Smith parked there.

He said Hall appeared to be the same person shown in the video walking into the Target soon after Smith entered the store.

"I want to again express my condolences to the Smith family," Douglass said. "I realize that this is not the preferred conclusion. While we cannot give them their daughter back, we can at least give them justice."

'25 years to life minimum sentence' Johnson County, Kan., prosecutor Phill Kline said charges would be filed Thursday morning.

"Mr. Hall faces 25 years to life minimum sentence on the premeditated murder charge, 147 months minimum sentence on the aggravated kidnapping charge. There is a distinct possibility of an amendment for more severe charges in the future."

Douglass said police had received more than 500 tips in the case and had questioned numerous people Wednesday, including Hall, who was arrested at the end of his interview.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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