A Black woman who recently escaped a Missouri basement where she was sexually assaulted and held captive says other victims "didn't make it" after cops called community concerns of a serial killer '"unfounded."
"We are aware of the social media post circulating regarding the murder of 4 women in Kansas City, Missouri in the past week at the hands of a “serial killer” and the report of 3 additional women missing. We want to make the public aware this claim is completely unfounded. There is no basis to support this rumor," KCPD said in a statement at the time.
The department's remarks came weeks before a 22-year-old Black woman emerged from a Missouri home wearing a metal collar locked with a padlock and said she had been abducted, whipped, and raped by 39-year-old suspect Timothy M. Haslett Jr. The 22-year-old said she was imprisoned in Haslett's basement for about a month before she fled and sought help from neighbors on October 7 as the man was taking his child to school, per the HuffPost.
After her escape, the woman said she had friends who "didn't make it" out of captivity and claimed Haslett killed them and one of the neighbors who helped her flee.
Haslett, who is white, has been arrested by police and pleaded not guilty last week to charges including rape, kidnapping, and assault. The Excelsior Springs Police Department has also confirmed that it's “actively investigating” the possibility of “two more women victims,” per the Daily Mail.
However, community leader Bishop Tony Caldwell had cited a specific stretch of Prospect Avenue where women had gone missing in a video published weeks ago, per the Kansas City Defender. It is the same location where the escaped woman said she was abducted.
On Saturday (October 15), police spokesperson Officer Donna Drake told HuffPost that the department had dismissed claims of Black women being abducted because it had not received any formal missing person reports.
“We base our investigations on reports made to our department,” she said in an email. “There have been no reports made to our department of missing persons, more specifically women, missing from Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. In order to begin a missing person’s investigation, someone would need to file a report with our department identifying the missing party.”