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Controversy erupts over no Amber Alert for slain woman's missing child

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OTTAWA COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office and Kansas Bureau of Investigations are blaming each other as to why no Amber Alert has been issued for the daughter of a murdered woman.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has rejected Franklin County's request for an Amber Alert to be issued for 18-month-old Lana-Leigh Bailey.

An agency spokesman said KBI would have issued one on Monday during those crucial hours after the three bodies were found, but said it's too late to do so now.

Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards contends that the case did not meet the Amber Alert criteria on Monday, but should now. He said he is doing everything he can to get KBI to issue an Amber Alert.

The two agencies also disagree over whether a man is in custody in connection with the slaying of Lana-Leigh's mother and two other men. In a news release, KBI said a suspect is in custody while Richards repeatedly said a person of interest is being questioned but no one is in custody in connection with the slaying.

Those found dead this week are Kaylie Bailey, 21, her boyfriend, Andrew Stout, 30, and his roommate, Steven Eugene White, 31.

Kaylie Bailey and her daughter were last seen on May 1 when they were en route to Stout's farm. He was supposed to watch the child while Kaylie Bailey went on to work, but she never showed up. Her father filed a missing person's report for his daughter and granddaughter on Sunday with Olathe police.

Because the mother's status was unknown, Olathe police did not issue an Amber Alert.

Lana-Leigh is 2' tall and weighs about 30 pounds. She has light brown hair and blue eyes. The toddler and her mother were last seen en route to the farmhouse in a Corolla, which has Kansas license plate 618DAA with a tag on front saying "Shawna's toy" and duct tape on passenger side mirror.

Friends of Stout said authorities came to Stout's farmhouse on Sunday, but didn't do a detailed search and failed to find the bodies.

Three friends had gone to his farmhouse on Monday to feed the missing man's pets. That's when they smelled a horrible odor and began to explore. In a shed, they discovered a body, which the friends told KCTV5 they recognized as that of Kaylie Bailey. One woman described in vivid details seeing the person's face and eyes.

More than 40 detectives converged on the property and eventually found the two men's bodies over the course of Monday night and Tuesday morning. A search did not turn up Kaylie Bailey's daughter.

Even though the friends said they recognized Kaylie Bailey's body, Richards said that wasn't enough to say that it was her. He said that authorities could not say that was positively Kaylie Bailey until an autopsy and other tests were completed, which occurred sometime Wednesday before 1 p.m.

Richards repeatedly insisted Wednesday that Lana-Leigh's disappearance did not qualify as an Amber Alert until her mother's remains were identified.

But Kyle G. Smith, assistant attorney general for KBI, disagreed. He maintains that KBI would have issued an Amber Alert on Monday if asked.

"If we had received that request on Monday, yes, we would have absolutely done an Amber Alert," Smith said.

But it's too late now for an Amber Alert to be effective, he said.

"It's for immediate alerts, those crucial first hours after a child has been kidnapped," Smith said. "It just did not seem to fit the criteria."

KBI has asked for help from the public and the media in locating Lana-Leigh.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office faxed over a request for an Amber Alert at 3:43 p.m. Richards did not explain why this wasn't done sooner since Kaylie Bailey's family was told about her death by 1 p.m. Thursday.

KBI issued a request for assistance at 3:57 p.m.

The following statement was issued by KBI:

"A full AMBER alert was not issued primarily for two reasons:

"• The media had been actively following the case for several days now and the information, including pictures of the missing child, have been widely circulated.

"• Utilizing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at this point to interrupt broadcasts by the media would not enhance coverage and be an improper taking of private property given the delayed request.

"Other than not utilizing the EAS system to interrupt broadcasts, all aspects of an AMBER alert are being utilized."

One difference is if an Amber Alert is issued then news outlets run a crawl and the child's picture on their screens, the alert is placed on highway signs and it's shared across the country.

KCTV5 is running the crawl as if an Amber Alert had been issued in an effort to do everything possible to get the information out and Lana home to her family.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on KCTV5's Facebook page and get word out about the missing child.

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