Crime

Father of Southwest High School honor student charged with her death

Jackson County prosecutors have charged the 40-year-old father of a Southwest High School honors student with murder in her suffocation death in March.

Jerry K. Bausby of Kansas City was charged late Tuesday with first-degree murder, sodomy, incest and sexual abuse in the slaying of Daizsa Laye Bausby. Police said the 18-year-old honor student was suffocated.

Her father was arrested in St. Joseph on Wednesday morning. Bond was set at $750,000, cash only.

Authorities discovered the teen’s body on March 21 inside a room at the 4 Acre Motel at 8220 Hickman Mills Drive. Not knowing her daughter’s body had been found, Daizsa Bausby’s mother filed a missing persons report the next day.

Bausby was an honors student who until the time of her death was among the top students in her class at Southwest. She ran track, played basketball and was a member of Junior ROTC. Bausby would have graduated from high school with enough dual credit hours to earn an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley.

Reaction to the arrest was swift.

“Daizsa was someone that exceeded everyone’s expectations, and she absolutely exceeded the expectations of her environment,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “She exceeded all obstacles that were placed in her way, of which there were many.

“For this community and for me to lose Daizsa is a hard blow to take, but we will do all that we can to get justice for Daizsa,” Baker said.

Chrishianna Jackson, 18, was a cheerleader and played sports with Bausby at Southwest. “It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson said about the arrest. “It really makes me sad that she almost made it out to college. I hope they prosecute him to the fullest extent. A dad is supposed to protect you and keep you safe, but he did the opposite.”

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said, “I am again saddened by the intentional abuse and killing of a child by a parent. Rather than guide, nurture and protect Daizsa, the suspect allegedly choose to harm her.”

Investigators on Monday received DNA results linking Jerry Bausby to the death, court records say. Samples on him matched his daughter’s DNA; the odds that the DNA was not hers were 1 in 30 quintillion, according to court records.

Daizsa Bausby was last seen around 8:30 p.m. on March 20 when she left her home a few minutes after getting a call from her father. Jerry Bausby rented a room at the 4 Acre Motel at 9:30 p.m. that night, records state.

Six hours later, surveillance video shows someone who matches the description of Jerry Bausby walking away from the motel room at 3:31 a.m. Video from a convenience store located 10 minutes south of the motel captured him buying cigarettes and then leaving and not returning to the motel, the court records state.

Around noon, a person cleaning the room discovered Daizsa Bausby’s body face-up on the bed.

Jerry Bausby’s vehicle was seen parked in front of the motel room when her body was found, court records state. She had been smothered.

Three days later, police arrested Jerry Bausby wearing the same clothes he had on in the surveillance video at the convenience store the morning his daughter’s body was found, court records say.

He told police he had picked up his daughter and rented a motel room for her and “some of her friends,” court documents say. He said he only stayed 20 or 30 minutes before walking to a friend’s house. When he left, only his daughter was in the room, he told police. He left his car there because it wouldn’t start, he told police.

He denied having sex with his daughter, according to court records.

Investigators got a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from Jerry Bausby.

Jackson County court records show Jerry Bausby has a criminal record dating to 1997 when he was convicted of drug charges.

In 2005, he was convicted in another drug-related case and sentenced to five years in prison. That same year, he was convicted of domestic assault and violation of a protection order.

In 2009, Jerry Bausby was found guilty of driving under the influence in Buchanan County, Mo.

He has another DUI conviction in Jackson County from 2010, and he is currently facing another DUI charge stemming from an arrest in 2015.

Daizsa Bausby’s classmates dedicated their May 10 graduation ceremony to the slain teen, who had been slated to be class salutatorian. They draped a chair she would have occupied with her honor cord, her academic hood and a photo.

School leaders said she had been offered scholarships to more than a dozen colleges. Bausby had plans to attend Grambling State University this fall.

Her cheerleading coach, Haley Steel, encouraged Bausby’s friends “to focus on the beauty and strength of her life and the legacy of endurance, selflessness and love that she’s left behind.” Steel said of the teen, “She was the rose that grew from the concrete.”

For months, friends and classmates worked to keep her memory alive. In August, they organized a vigil at Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza to call for more public attention on the case. About two dozen people attended, hoisted pictures of Bausby, poster boards filled with messages of love for her, and pink balloons.

“After many months, the truth came out,” Earl Williams, who was Bausby’s principal at Southwest High School, said Wednesday. “The hurt still remains, but there is some peace in the hearts of those who love our friend.”

The Star’s Tony Rizzo and Mara’ Rose Williams contributed information to this report.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar

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