Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Wichita Horror

Murders in the Snow



The captors ordered Muller and H.G., both of whom were shoeless and naked below the waist, to leave the house for the garage. There they were told to get into the trunk of Sander's Honda Accord. The nude male victims were brought out and also ordered into the small trunk but not all five would fit. The attackers told the men to get into the trunk and the women into the back seat of the car.

Muller looked at H.G. and said, "I wonder how long they can last in a trunk."

The garage door opened and the criminals talked with each other. The taller man told H.G. to get out of Sander's car and accompany him to Befort's truck. The shorter man got into the driver's seat of Sander's vehicle.

After the taller kidnapper had been driving for awhile, H.G. asked him where they were going.

He replied that they wanted to drop the victims off away from either the attackers' car or their own cars. Eventually both kidnappers parked in a snow covered soccer field.

The trunk of the Honda Accord was opened. Befort, Sander, and Heyka were told to kneel in front of the car.

Panicked, H.G. looked at Muller and cried, "They're going to shoot us!"

Both women were commanded to kneel beside the men.

A gun fired and Sander begged, "Please, no, sir, please!"

The gun fired again and H.G. felt a bullet slam into her head. She remembered that her mind "went kind of gray with white like stars" but she was not knocked unconscious. Someone kicked her from behind and she fell forward. She lay in the snow, pretending to be dead in the hope that they would not hurt her anymore.

The truck started and ran over the victims. H.G. suffered its terrible impact but still did not lose consciousness. Then she heard the truck start yet again and believed from the way the sound traveled that it was leaving the area. She turned her head slightly and saw that she was correct.

Still lying in the snow, the wounded woman called out the names of her lover and her friends. "Jason? Heather? Aaron? Brad?"

Victims, J. Befort, H. Muller, A. Sander, B. Heyka, clockwise
Victims, J. Befort, H. Muller, A. Sander, B. Heyka, clockwise

No one answered.

H. G. waited until she could no longer make out the truck's headlights. Then she got up to examine the other victims who lay exposed and face down in the snow.

Befort was next to her. She rolled his naked and battered body over. This was the man she loved, the man she knew loved her. He wanted to marry her but had not gotten the chance to slip the engagement ring on her finger.

Blood flowed from his head and eyes. Maybe he was still alive! Shivering and near-naked, H.G. removed her sweater, the only garment she had on, and tied it around his head to stop the bleeding.

She went to Heyka but soon realized there was not much she could do to help while she was there.

Seeing lights to the west a ways off, she thought the building that had them "was like some sort of farming type thing" and believed it might not have a phone. Looking toward the highway, she saw a home with Christmas lights on.

Like all things identified with this holiday season, bright and multi-colored Christmas lights represent joy and love and the spirit of giving.

For H. G., from whom so much had been taken — loved ones, security, and dignity — those lights meant comfort and help.

As she raced toward the Christmas lights, she saw car headlights and immediately dove into the frigid blanket of snow because she feared it might be the attackers. Every time she saw headlights, she flung herself to the ground, waited, then got back up to run toward those beckoning lights.

H.G. got to a fence and climbed over it. She crossed a highway that was almost empty due to the hour. Then she climbed over another fence and found herself on a dirt road that appeared to be behind a subdivision. She got to the back of a home, then raced around to the front door and repeatedly rang the doorbell and pounded on the door.

She had run a mile. As a child, H.G. was nicknamed "Toughy" by her playmates. She had lived up to that name.

The owners of the home, a man and a woman, peeked out a window to see a shivering, bleeding, naked woman on their porch.

They opened the door and let her inside, then bundled her up in blankets.

"Call 911!" H.G. exclaimed.

The man made the call. First he tried to tell the police emergency operator what H.G. had told him. Then he handed her the phone. Somehow H. G. was able to make herself speak clearly and calmly as she directed the police to the soccer field. She hoped that Befort might still be alive.

He was not. H.G.'s hopes were dashed and her heart broken when told that the man she loved and three people dear to her were found dead.

Police believe that while H.G. was making her way painfully through the snow, the attackers returned to the 12727 Birchwood Dr. house to steal more items. They also beat and stabbed H.G.'s muzzled dog Nikki to death.

 

 

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