For three consecutive Friday nights, a group of friends — including Kaylie Bailey, her boyfriend, Andrew Stout, and one of his roommates, Kyle Flack — gathered for food or fun.
But by the fourth Friday night, Stout, Bailey and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh Bailey, had vanished.
That night, May 3, Flack exchanged text messages with a friend and acted as if nothing was amiss, even though prosecutors in Franklin County, Kan., believe he already had killed Stout’s longtime roommate, Steven White, and may have already killed Stout, Bailey and Lana-Leigh.
“Have you talked to Andrew in the last few days?” the friend wrote in a text message to Flack at 6:20 p.m. May 3.
“Yesterday afternoon,” Flack responded. “Said he had plans with his girl this weekend.”
The friend, Andrew Helm, sent a text message that said relatives believed Andrew Stout was missing.
“I talk to him yesterday,” Flack texted. “He finally got everybody out his house. He’s probably just laying low. Can’t blame him.”
Helm followed up with another text saying Stout hadn’t been seen for a few days.
“He told me he had (expletive) planned to get away for a minute with his girl,” Flack responded. “You know Andrew.”
Helm texted Flack on May 6, again asking about Stout, but got no response. By then, Stout’s friends had found a body on Stout’s farm outside of Ottawa. Franklin County authorities later found two more bodies.
Emporia police later found Flack and Bailey’s car Wednesday and Franklin County prosecutors later charged him in connection with the quadruple murder at Stout’s farm outside of Ottawa, Kan.
Prosecutors believe White, 31, was killed between April 20 and April 28, and that Stout, 30, Bailey, 21, and Lana-Leigh Bailey were killed between April 28 and May 6.
Though not positively identified as of Monday, a body presumed to be Lana’s was found over the weekend in neighboring Osage County.
Helm shared the text messages with reporters Monday after Flack’s second court appearance. Helm said he attended the hearing to support Stout’s family, but he also wanted to know how his circle of friends had shattered so violently.
At the friends’ last get-together April 26, everyone was getting along, and having fun playing with Stout’s new “Star Wars” light sabers, Helm said. White was absent.
“We had a barbecue at our house,” Helm said. “Kyle seemed normal. Andrew seemed normal. Kaylie seemed normal. There was no tension, no nothing, you know?”
But Helm and other friends and relatives of the victims didn’t get any answers at Monday’s brief hearing.
Flack, 27, didn’t say or do much during the few minutes he spent inside the hushed, cramped Franklin County courtroom. He stared straight ahead or looked down, rarely glancing toward the standing-room-only gallery.
After Flack’s lawyer, Ron Evans, a death penalty specialist, announced that Flack was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing within 15 days of being charged, Franklin County District Court Judge Thomas H. Sachse asked Flack, if that was correct.
“Yes sir,” answered Flack, who wore shackles, slip-on shoes and an orange-and-cream jail uniform.
The judge set a status hearing for July 8.
It was unclear if Flack had a job recently, but he used to work on the back of a trash truck in Ottawa. Matthew Andrews, who worked with Flack, said Flack wasn’t friendly.
“We almost got into fights several times,” Andrews said. “It was always over small things.”
Helm also worked with Flack on the trash truck, but they slowly developed a friendship.
“We always joked around and played games,” Helm said. They kept in touch even after they both left the sanitation company.
Flack didn’t like White, but Helm said he still couldn’t fathom what would lead to the four deaths.
“It’s hard to imagine what could have gone wrong,” he said. “Kyle seemed like a good guy.”