KCK Cold Cases unit links suspect’s DNA to two previously unsolved homicides

Police investigating if suspect is also responsible for other unsolved homicides across country
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Wyandotte County District Attorney charged a man with two homicides that were considered cold cases.

Gary Dion Davis, Sr. is charged with the second degree murders of Pearl Davis, also known as Sameemah Mussawir in November 1996, and Christina King on Dec. 25, 1998.

Kansas City, Kan. Police found Davis’ body in a home on Lafayette Avenue. Two years later, officers located King’s body behind an abandoned building in the city.

Detectives sent evidence from each case to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in Topeka to be tested.

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Detectives from the KCK Cold Cases Unit revisited the case recently and were able to match DNA evidence from both murder scenes with Davis’ DNA profile.

“Mr. Davis went on with his life as if nothing happened,” Chief Karl Oakman, Kansas City, Kansas, Police Dept. said.

Davis faces two life sentences, if he is convicted in the homicides. The Wyandotte County DA said Davis is currently held on $500,000 bond.

“These charges are the result of the heart of the Kansas City Kansas Police Department and the cold case squad. These cases are more than 20 years old,” Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County DA, said. There is no statute of limitations for murder, which allowed us to pursue these cases. These charges demonstrate justice is possible no matter how much time has elapsed.”

Police said Davis was a cross country truck driver at the time of the two homicides in Kansas City, Kan. They are now investigating to determine if he could be responsible for any other unsolved homicides in the Kansas City-area or in other locations across the country.

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The Kansas City, Kansas Cold Cases Unit says it has identified suspects in a total of 11 cold cases, including the two mentioned above. A third case involves a newborn found in a dumpster at an apartment building in 1976.

The fourth case will bring answers to the family of Dion Estell.

Someone shot and killed Dion Estell in 1997. Officers found 16-year-old’s body in a creek bed near North 18th Street and K-5 on July 22, 1997. He had been shot.

Earlier this year, an inmate serving time with Leon Caldwell told Cold Case Detectives that Caldwell admitted killing Estell. During an interview with Caldwell, detectives said Caldwell told them he knew who murdered Estell, but would not name the person.

At a later meeting with the detectives, Caldwell admitted killing Estell. The detectives said Caldwell provided details about the homicide that only the killer would know.

The Wyandotte County District Attorney charged Caldwell with the murder of Dion Estell in May 2023.

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Caldwell is currently in hospice inside the Lansing Correctional Facility.

“He felt that this confession, he needed to get this off his chest. Although it’s not comforting to the family, he said he wanted the family to know this before he passed,” Oakman said.

Detectives resubmitted evidence collected at the original crime scene for DNA testing to insure Caldwell’s confession. The results are pending.

“The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department has a significant number of unsolved homicides dating back five to six decades. These cases are in various stages of investigation, and we knew would benefit from advances in DNA forensic testing, and simply a fresh look. The purpose of this unit is to bring justice with arrest, clearances, and convictions as well as providing a much needed relief and closure to the families and friends of the victims,” Oakman said.

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Oakman said detectives will continue to work to get answers for families and justice in dozens of cold cases.

“We have a lot of unsolved cold cases. So, it may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. In fact, it may not be this year. But there’s going to be a time, you may be in the drive-thru line. You may be at the grocery store. We’re going to eventually get you,” Oakman said.