Relatives search for justice for Lakota Renville more than 17 years after her body was discovered
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) - For more than 17 years, a mother has fought to see her daughter’s killer caught. Twenty-two-year-old Lakota Renville’s body was discovered by a passerby in October of 2005 near Blue Ridge and Pitcher Road in Independence.
Lakota’s family members live out of state. Her mother spoke to KCTV5 News by phone from South Dakota. She says as long as she is alive, she will continue to bring awareness to her daughter’s unsolved homicide case. “We’ve been waiting, and it is frustrating,” Lakota’s mother Julie Watts said.
Watts said her daughter was quiet, loving and a true confidant to her friends. She said it is heartbreaking that no one has been brought to justice for Lakota’s death. “We just pray that somebody that’s out there will say something and that the person will be caught,” Watts said.
Someone discovered Lakota’s body in an area known for illegal dumping in Independence on October 16, 2005, near a gravel lot. Lakota was beaten, stabbed, and wrapped in carpet padding and a rug. “Lakota has a family,” Watts said. “She has sisters. She has brothers.”
Investigators hope community members will take a close look at photos of a rug that was found near Lakota and call the Independence Police Department if they know anything about it or to whom it may have belonged in 2005.
“We’re trying to locate where this rug came from, or if somebody has seen this rug or if somebody manufactures this rug,” Independence Police Department Public Information Officer Jack Taylor said.
Family members have held yearly walks to raise awareness about Lakota’s unsolved case. They hope to one day place a billboard asking for tips. “Lakota has no justice,” Watts said.
Her relatives want to be a voice for other missing and murdered indigenous women who are not forgotten. “We want justice, so we don’t have to go about the rest of our lives worrying if he is going to be caught,” Watts said.
Lakota’s family members fear the person who took her life could harm other women if they are not arrested and charged.
“A lot of time has passed between then and now and a lot of people I’m sure have talked, and stories have been shared and we’re just looking for that one piece that may give us that information that we need to look for a suspect,” Taylor said. “Lakota’s family is out there waiting to hear, waiting to get justice for their loved one.”
Lakota’s relatives are asking anyone with information about this case to please call the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS hotline by calling 816-474-TIPS. Crime Stoppers offers up to a $2,000 reward for any tip that leads to an arrest for any felony crime.
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