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Charges Filed In 27-Year KCK Double Homicide Mystery

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The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday that it had filed charges in a case that has stumped authorities for 27 years.

Melvin Shields, 48, of Wichita, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Steve Ray, 33, and Jolene Jones, 27.

Ray and Jones, who were described as long-time friends who had a daughter together, went to lunch on April 27, 1988 and their bodies were found at 19th and Argentine streets the next day.

No motive was announced, but Shields was being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on $1 million bond. His first court appearance is scheduled in Wyandotte County next week.

According to the D.A.’s office, the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department never closed the case, although there were periods when no new leads were found and the investigation was inactive. Finally, the prosecutors put together DNA, witness statements and other forensic reports and charged Shields, said Kristiane Bryant, assistant district attorney.

“I called the families to tell them that we had charged it and they didn’t know that we’d been working on it because I didn’t want to give them false hope,” she said. “We would have told them one way or the other but it was nice to be able to make a call and to be able to make their day.”

The Kansas City Star reported that Ray was the pastor of a Baptist church and Jones was a choir director. Shields has a lengthy criminal record, according to the Star.

Peggy Lowe is investigations editor for Harvest Public Media and KCUR 89.3. You can find her on Twitter, @peggyllowe.

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