Taylor Hirth was attacked nearly two years ago inside her Independence apartment as she slept in bed with her 2-year-old daughter.
She recalled the gang rape and the way she says she was treated by police when she called for help.
“I hate to disparage the police but they were very dismissive when I came forward. 'Well, what happened here?' There was no humanity in their voice,” she said.
Hirth says Independence police officers delayed her leaving in an ambulance as they questioned how the door was broken and what really happened.
“I felt dismissed. I felt their focus was 'Here we go again, another girl crying rape,'" Hirth said.
Hirth heads to court this week to watch one man charged in her attack plead guilty for another woman’s rape.
That man, William Luth, will be formally sentenced for kidnapping and raping a Johnson County sheriff's deputy.
“I was heartbroken that people in her own profession failed to protect me and that failed to protect her,” she added.
Hirth says the way the two cases were treated had several differences and she noticed them immediately.
Independence police never held a news conference begging for information or offering a reward. Her rape barely made the news until she contacted KCTV5 News herself offering to share information herself in hopes to solve her own case.
“Immediately, I saw the contrast in how my case was handled, compared to how the case in Johnson County was handled," Hirth said. "They pulled video they did a press conference and they had them captured in a couple of days. Obviously, they believed her. They took her seriously and that's how every survivor should be treated ... as if it's one of their own. I wasn't treated that way it was kind of a slap in the face.”
Within days, police would link the cases. DNA recovered from Hirth’s rape kit matched evidence in the deputy’s attack.
It was later discovered that Brady Newman Caddell, another suspect, lived in Hirth’s apartment complex at the time of her attack. The date of her rape matched Luth’s birthday - a tip she shared publicly.
Hirth praises how Johnson County prosecutors have treated her. Even though the plea deal is for Luth, she has been kept informed directly from the prosecutor about the case and often attends to court to watch the proceedings.
“It's almost empowering to see they are not looking away because they can't face it. I faced it,” Hirth said.
She says it was jarring to learn the details of the men now charged in her attack. Luth was married and a young father. Caddell was a kind neighbor who often held the door for her and her daughter.
Hirth has learned how painful justice can be and that it is often not complete. She firmly believes there were between three and five men in her room attacking her that night.
“I am convinced that there were at least three. I have to live with the fact that someone got away with it that probably thinks that they can get away with it again," Hirth said. "It’s something I have to live with.”
In Hirth's report, she told police that the men took pictures of the attack and covered her face. She added that she heard the name “Josh.”
Anyone with information about the rape in Independence is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
KCTV5 reached out to the Independence Police Department for comment. They declined to reveal if the officers who took Hirth’s rape report ever received sexual assault sensitivity training, but an officer with the department says when such training is offered, the department utilizes the training programs.
KCTV5 was told no policies or procedures have changed as a result of Hirth’s attack.
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