Topeka Cold Case Gains National Spotlight

Topeka (WIBW) - The blonde woman with the warm smile looking back from a photo is how Chad Harkness remembers his mother, Karen Harkness.

He still can't believe she and her fiance, Michael Sisco, were shot and killed while they slept in their southwest Topeka home July 7, 2002.

"They had no enemies," Chad said. "They were involved in the community, well-respected.

Topeka Police Sgt. Richard Volle agrees there was nothing that would suggest Harkness and Sisco would become victims of violence.

Seven years, many leads and mounds of paperwork later, police still have made no arrests.

Volle says it's frustrating not only because officers take such cases personally, but also "because the family wants answers and I can't give them to them."

Now, both Volle and Chad Harkness hope putting the case in the national spotlight on CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" will lead to answers.

Chad says the person the family believes killed the couple lives out of state. They believe getting attention outside of Kansas might convince someone to come forward.

Who do they think that person is?

"We've believed since day one that Mike Sisco's ex-wife came here," he said.

Volle would not comment on specific suspects, but when asked if he thought he knew who committed the crime, he responded, "I do."

Volle says critical information could help police prove their hunch. He says the gun will be key, and either finding the gun itself or learning who sold the gun to the suspect would help them crack the case.

Chad Harkness says an arrest and conviction would help bring closure to the family. He says they thing about it all the time, but "don't dwell on it" because they believe Karen Harkness would have wanted them to move foward. However, he says after more than seven years it would be nice to have justice for her.

Topeka Police will have investigators manning a special hotline during the "48 Hours" episode. It airs at 9 pm Saturday on WIBW-TV.

As far as how it all came about, TPD and the KBI had an outside review done of the case, to make sure they had followed every piece of evidence they could. A detective in New York did the consultation and mentioned this interesting case to a person he knew who worked for "48 Hours."

Chad Harkness says it was a bit overwhelming to have a national entity interested in their story, but he says the crews were very respectful. He says the crews, including correspondent Harold Dow, visited Topeka several times over the past year in crafting the program.

A $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case still stands.

A figure Chad Harkness is even more proud of is $73,000. That's how much money has been raised through an annual golf tournament held in his mother's name. The money is awarded in tennis scholarships to Washburn University. He says it's a testament to the kind of person his mother was.


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