For the third time in recent months, a section of a popular walking and biking trail was the scene of a homicide.
Mike Darby was found slain early Thursday along the Indian Creek Trail between Wornall and Holmes in south Kansas City. A cyclist discovered the body about 6:30 a.m. and called police, who are investigating Darby’s death as a homicide.
Darby, co-owner of Coach’s Bar & Grill, was reportedly walking his dogs when he was killed.
It is the 44th homicide reported this year in Kansas City. It’s second time in three months that a dog walker was found killed in the south Kansas City neighborhood.
David Lenox, 66, was found fatally shot just a few steps away from his front door at the Willow Creek Apartments near 99th and Walnut streets.
In August, a pedestrian alerted police after discovering the body of John Palmer, 54, of Kansas City.
Indian Creek Trail is one of the longest walking and biking trails in Kansas City. The asphalt and concrete trail stretches 26 miles, connecting Jackson and Johnson counties. It starts just south on Bannister Road in Kansas City and continues to the west to Hampton Park at South Warwick Street in Olathe.
Two police investigators walked the trail along Wornall on Thursday afternoon, talking with passers-by and examining the area near where Darby’s body was found.
The trail along Indian Creek is clean and well-kept, the grass around it freshly mowed. Cyclists ride past every few minutes.
Among the citizens walking the trail was Darren Sederwall, of Independence.
Sederwall walks the trail every week for exercise, he said. He’s always found it a safe place.
“I’ve never had any trouble,” he said. “I just see bikers, walkers, people pushing baby strollers.”
Nearby, regular trail visitor Andre Edmond swatted golf balls in the grass. Shown a photo of Darby, Edmond said he recognized him.
Edmond frequently saw Darby on the trail, walking his dogs, who sometimes tried to chase Edmond’s golf balls.
Edmond was surprised at Darby’s death. “That is crazy,” he said. “I come out here every day. I walk out here at 2, 3, 4 in the morning, if I can’t sleep. There’s nobody around.”
Jasper Mirabile, owner of nearby Jasper’s Restaurant, said the trail is usually safe.
“It is a safe trail, and many people use it every day,” Mirabile said. “We’re at a loss of what happened to Mike.”
Next door to Coach’s, at the 103rd Street Tavern, bar owner Bob Yancey had gotten to know Darby over the past three years.
“He was a great gentleman, great business owner, and it’s a tragedy for the community,” he said.