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Police: Trucker charged in 2 cold case murders could have more victims

A 52-year-old man was arrested for two cold case murders that happened in the 1990s, but police say there could be more victims.
Police: Trucker charged in 2 cold case murders could have more victims
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 22, 2023

A long-haul truck driver was recently charged in the 1996 and 1998 cold case murders of two women from Kansas City, Kansas, and investigators are looking into whether he could be linked to others.

Gary Dion Davis, now 52 years old, was arrested and jailed for second-degree murder thanks to DNA evidence that linked him to the killings of Christina King and Pearl Barnes, who was also known as Sameemah Musawwir, but detectives are trying to determine if he could be responsible for other crimes.

Kansas City has a significant number of unsolved homicides dating back six decades, Police Chief Karl Oakman said. The department even started a cold case squad, which went into effect January 2022.

On Wednesday, the department said it had identified suspects in 11 cold cases, detailing four in a news conference as a "sign of what's to come."

"It may not be today, tomorrow, in fact, it may not be this year, but there will be a time when you're in the drive-thru line or the grocery store where we will eventually get you," Oakman said.

Murders of Christina King and Sameemah Mussawir

On Nov. 22, 1996, Sameemah Mussawir's body was found stabbed inside a vacant Kansas City home.

On Dec. 25, 1998, 26-year-old Christina King's body was found beaten to death behind an abandoned building in Kansas City.

Investigators recovered items at the crime scene and sent them to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

DNA evidence gathered at both scenes was linked to Davis, according to Wyandotte County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Dupree, who said the charges against Davis for the murders were the result of the police department and cold case squad's work.

Now investigators are looking into whether the truck driver is a suspect in other cold cases.

"We are continuing to investigate that suspect for other possible cold cases in the Kansas City metro area, as well as within the United States," Oakman said. "But in my experience, based on him killing two women, most likely he's killed more."

Arvetta Davis, Mussawir's niece, is still processing her death.

"I don't even know why he came across her path," Davis said. "My aunt sewed, she had a transportation business running people up to Chillicothe correctional, she worked as an SRS driver, she had a day care, she sold dinners, she sold bean pies, she was involved in her family lives, she did it all."

Mussawir leaves behind two daughters and a large family.

Murder of Dion Estell

Two other cases were discussed during Wednesday's announcement of Dion's charges.

One involved 16-year-old Dion Estell, who was found shot to death lying in a creek on July 22, 1997.

Earlier this year, detectives were tipped off that Leon Caldwell, who is currently serving a murder sentence at the Lansing State Prison, admitted to killing Estell.

Oakman said Caldwell, who is currently in hospice, requested a meeting with detectives, during which he admitted to details that only the killer would know. He was later charged with Estell's murder.

"He felt that, this confession, he needed to get this off of his chest, and although it's not comforting to the family, he said he wanted the family to know this before he passed," Oakman said.

"I'm still not at closure. I never will," said Lillie Estell, Dion's mother. "I will never see what my child will grow up to be, I don't know any of that stuff. He's been gone a long time, and I still miss him."

"He was the baby brother," said Daniel Estell, Dion's older brother. "He was a kid. He didn't deserve it. It was a relief, but I wish it came a lot sooner."

SEE MORE: Police: Boy killed after baseball game was case of mistaken identity

Baby Girl Jane Doe

The fourth case discussed involved an infant referred to as Baby Girl Jane Doe, who was found dead inside of a Kansas City, Kansas apartment complex dumpster with her umbilical cord still attached on Nov. 16, 1976.

At the time of the murder, detectives discovered that a teenager had been visiting her mother for Thanksgiving and left the area two days after the baby girl was found.

Over the years, the family of the infant told investigators the infant belonged to the teen.

In 2022, detectives were able to locate the teen, who is now in her 60s, and obtained DNA, which linked her to the infant.

She admitted to giving birth to the baby but said that her grandmother took the baby and walked away.

Based on evidence, detectives identified the grandmother, who has since died, as the suspect in the infant's death.

Oakman said because of the statute of limitations and the grandmother's death, no charges were brought.

This story was originally published by David Medina and Megan Abundis at Scripps News Kansas City.

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