Nearly two decades after homicide, search for justice continues in Kansas City man’s death

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 7:00 PM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 2:39 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Nearly 20 years later, a mother on a mission to get justice for her son is still fighting to help investigators find his killer.

Larry Riley’s mother, Rachel Riley, says her son was tall, handsome, and a loving older brother and son. “What happened on October 30, 2003, was the most devastating day in my life,” Rachel Riley said.

Someone shot into a vehicle near 22nd Street and Holmes Road that October night in 2003. Larry Riley was inside the car at the time. He had just visited a friend at a local hospital. “As they left the hospital, another vehicle came up and someone shot into their vehicle and shot Larry,” Kansas City Missouri Police Department Captain Everett Babcock said.

“He was robbed of being a father. He was robbed of just life itself,” Rachel Riley said. “It is hard to imagine him still not being here during the holidays and his birthday. Twenty years later, the pain is still there. It will never go away.”

Around the time of Larry Riley’s homicide, Kansas City police were investigating multiple homicides near 24th Street near where Larry grew up. “It had resulted in a lot of violence back then,” Babcock said.

Kansas City police created a task force to concentrate on the violence occurring in the area. “We made a lot of arrests. Worked a lot of cases. Solved a lot of cases but Larry’s was one of them that didn’t get solved,” Babcock said.

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Larry Riley’s family members not only wanted to see his killer held accountable, but they also wanted the violence to stop. “My mom, Joyce Riley started a group called the 24th Street Nonviolent Marchers,” Rachel Riley said. “We started marching every Friday.”

Rachel and her daughter, Sharlonda Riley, are still working to help their community through the East 23rd St. Pac Neighborhood Association by addressing crime and empowering young people.

“We are fighters and we’re going to continue doing that in Larry’s name and those that have lost their loved ones and don’t know where to turn or who to talk to,” Rachel Riley said. “We are a voice of the people that have no voice.”

While coping with their own loss, the Riley family has spent years trying to stop violence from taking another life. They hope someone with information will step up to help their family receive justice.

Investigators believe some individuals with important information were teens at the time of the homicide. “Now 20 years later, you are grownups,” Babcock said. “You see the pain and you understand, thinking as an adult, what kind of loss this would be. It’s time to come forward. It’s time to talk.”

Anyone with information can anonymously call the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers tips hotline by calling 816-474-TIPS.

“They have children of their own and I would ask them to put themselves in my shoes,” Rachel Riley said. “If someone murdered their child, what would they want to happen?”

Crime Stoppers offers up to a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case and any other KCMO homicide.

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