Coach's Bar & Grill owner found slain on south Kansas City walki - KCTV5

Coach's Bar & Grill owner found slain on south Kansas City walking trail

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The staff put a sign on the door of Coach's Bar and Grill notifying regulars that co-owner Mike Darby had died. (KCTV) The staff put a sign on the door of Coach's Bar and Grill notifying regulars that co-owner Mike Darby had died. (KCTV)
Police say the death of a man found on a walking trail early Thursday morning is a homicide. (KCTV5) Police say the death of a man found on a walking trail early Thursday morning is a homicide. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A person riding their bike on a popular walking trail in Kansas City made a gruesome discovery Thursday morning.

They found a body on the Indian Creek Trail near Holmes Road. The victim is Mike Darby, the owner of Coach's Bar and Grill. Police say his death is a homicide.

Officers responded at about 6:30 a.m. to the trail in response to a call that said a body had been found.

Darby's body was not hidden off the path. Officers say two Labradors were found wandering around the man's body.

Police cordoned off a large section of the trail. Officers were seen going through the area with metal detectors, then with K-9s, then walking shoulder-to-shoulder combing the area to make sure they haven't missed anything.

Dozens of the man's family and friends were out at the scene on Thursday morning talking with officers. 

The staff put a sign on the door of Coach's Bar and Grill notifying regulars that co-owner Mike Darby had died and that the sports bar will be closed until Friday while they grieve.

On Thursday evening, a local event promoter who used Coach's for catering left flowers.

Darby and Coach's are a bit of an institution in South Kansas City. He and his co-owner opened the place in 1983 -- 34 years ago. It was one of the first sports bars in the area. A Johnson County location opened in 2006.

The news of his passing left many in shock. 

One former employee described him as a mentor who taught her what she needed to know to open her own restaurant.

Several people who work nearby told KCTV5 News that Darby walked the Indian Creek Trail every morning with his two black Labradors. So, when they heard a body was found there with two Labradors circling it, they immediately worried it was him.

Most of the people we met were too shaken up by the news to talk about him on camera, but they used the same phrases: great guy, great family, hard to believe.

A woman who's worked near him for 20 years wanted people to know this about him:

“He's just a really happy guy,” Lisa Bowen said. “Fun to be around. And he was always looking out for everybody. I never saw him with a frown.”

In fact, KCTV5 News talked with Darby on camera several years ago about someone snatching purses of his customers, who he seemed concerned about like family.

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