Kyle Flack didn’t make friends easily.
He was quiet, lived in his own mind and struggled socially his whole life, relatives said. As a boy, he didn’t play with other kids, didn’t want to leave the house and eventually dropped out of high school.
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Later, his air of intolerance and judgment didn’t win him many friends, either.
Most of the friends he did have were his older brother’s first, but relatives said Flack was extremely loyal to them.
That’s why it’s so difficult for those close to Flack to believe he killed one of his lifelong friends, Andrew Stout, along with three others at Stout’s farm outside Ottawa in Franklin County, Kan.
Authorities have charged Flack, 27, with rape and four counts of murder in connection with the quadruple killing, which was first discovered by some of Stout’s friends who went to check on him May 6.
They found a body under a tarp in the garage, and authorities later found two bodies inside the home. Authorities identified the victims as Stout, 30; Stout’s girlfriend, Kaylie Bailey, 21, of Olathe; and Stout’s roommate, Steven E. White, 31.
Emporia police found Bailey’s car and officers arrested Flack at a friend’s home in Emporia.
Several days later, authorities found the body of Bailey’s 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh Bailey, in Osage County, just west of Franklin County.
The Kansas attorney general’s office recently announced it would take the lead on the case because prosecutors could seek the death penalty.
Authorities have released few details about the case, including any specific evidence linking Flack to the crimes. That lack of information leaves close friends and relatives in disbelief.
Flack told people he didn’t like White because he thought he wasn’t a “stand-up man,” so they could see Flack getting into a fight with White. And Flack had previously served time for attempted murder, so he was capable of violence. But relatives, co-workers and friends say Flack seemed to have an internal code that wasn’t consistent with the charges he now faces.
They describe him as blunt, brutally honest and highly intolerant of people he deems lazy, unreliable or moochers. But they also say he is hard-working, good with kids and a stickler for morals and loyalty.
“I’m not saying Kyle doesn’t know what happened or wasn’t there and saw it,” his mother, Tammy McCoy, told The Star. “... But he’d never hurt a child, or a woman or Andrew. Andrew was his boy.”
McCoy talked to her son on the phone after his arrest, and she said he told her: “I never touched no baby. I never touched no woman. I ain’t never hurt no man that didn’t have it coming.”
Hard working but judgmental
As a child, Flack was noticeably different from his older brother, Brad, who excelled socially, McCoy said.
“They were like day and night,” McCoy said.
The family moved around Kansas, living in Ottawa, Coffeyville, Emporia — where Kyle attended high school — then back to Franklin County.
Kyle’s introversion concerned McCoy, so she sought help from county mental health authorities. But they told her he was just lazy and needed to get a job, McCoy said.
At 20, Flack went to prison for shooting another man in a disagreement. The victim’s relatives have called it a work dispute. But Flack told a friend it was a drug dispute, and he told a co-worker that the man “kept pushing” him so he shot him.
While behind bars, he earned his GED and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and a personality disorder, McCoy said. A doctor put him on medication, but he decided he didn’t need it while he was still behind bars, McCoy said.
After leaving prison in July 2009, Flack lived with his parents in Osage County. He was neat, orderly and posted a note on his bedroom door of all the things he needed to accomplish each day, including “brush teeth” and “shower.”
Ottawa Sanitation Service, one of the few companies willing to hire felons, gave him a job, McCoy said. Claude Ferguson, vice president of the company, said Flack was strong, reliable, quick to pick up new tasks and very organized.
“He took pride in being here and chewed out others who fell short,” Ferguson said. “If someone had a lame excuse for not being at work, he would say: ‘I was here. Why weren’t you?’”
At work, Flack didn’t say much about himself, but he liked to talk with people he trusted about politics, government conspiracy theories, and Nordic and German history. He told one friend he liked the Germans because they were “strong and fought for their rights.”
Eventually, Flack became bored with the monotony of the same route, and he asked Ferguson whether he could try others.
Ferguson taught Flack how to repair trucks, which Flack enjoyed, he said. Flack would complete whatever assignment Ferguson doled out, and then “he’d put away all the tools and clean everything up,” Ferguson said. “He had good, old-time values that you don’t see a lot of anymore.”
But after a few years, Flack stopped coming to work. Ferguson said he halfway expected it, because most employees, if they last past a few months, don’t stay longer than a few years. Still, when Flack started calling in with excuses for why he couldn’t come to work, Ferguson kept his position open for a few weeks because he was such a good worker. But Flack never returned.
Despite not having a job, Flack still judged others who didn’t work, his mother said.
He didn’t like people who he thought were shirking their duties as employees, citizens or fathers. Even his relatives fell under his harsh judgment. He didn’t get along with his brother and stepbrother because they fell short in his eyes, according to relatives and co-workers.
Flack, who had wrecked his vehicle shortly before he quit his job, felt lost in unemployment, his mother said. He often talked about getting away from society and living in the woods like Grizzly Adams.
Late last year, he agreed to go in for another mental evaluation, McCoy said, but the family couldn’t figure out how to pay for it.
Flack often intimidated people at first because he was quiet and didn’t show much emotion on his face, said Andrew Helm, who worked with Flack on the back of the trash truck for a year.
Friends used this “intimidation factor” when they needed to clear a party, Helm said, including at Stout’s birthday party last year when people stuck around long after Stout wanted them gone.
Recently, Flack had been trying to persuade White and another roommate to move out of Stout’s home, McCoy said, because Stout wanted them out but he didn’t like confrontations. Flack lived in the house part-time, too, McCoy said, but he was preparing to move out to make room for Bailey and her daughter.
The week before the victims’ bodies were found, Stout, Bailey, her daughter and Flack attended a cookout at Helm’s home in Gardner. Helm has a photo that shows Flack sitting on a couch next to Stout and Bailey as they watched a movie.
McCoy and her husband saw Flack, Bailey and Stout the next day when they went to pick up a truck they had loaned Stout.
“Everybody was in a good mood,” said Michael McCoy, Kyle’s stepfather. “They were sitting around and laughing about how the baby had lost the keys to my truck. They found the keys just before we got there.”
Stout told the McCoys he wouldn’t need their truck again until May 2, because Bailey could take him to work until then.
But in the following days, Stout, Bailey and her daughter went missing.
On May 3, Flack told his parents he was going to Kansas City to find work with a friend. His parents gave him $100 for personal hygiene products and cigarettes.
He ended up in Emporia, where he was eventually arrested. When pressed about why Flack would leave town and what might have happened at Stout’s farm, his parents said Flack’s attorney told them not to discuss the details of the case.
Stout was like a third son to Tammy McCoy. He had been best friends with her son Brad since second grade. After Stout was murdered, Brad, 30, died May 17 of heart problems.
“It was terrible to lose Andrew,” she said. “I’m losing all my boys at once.”