Advertising Company is being honored as the recipient
of the Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award
by U.S. Attorney Todd Graves.
The second annual award is being
presented during National Crime Victims
This week marks a special
observance on behalf of all victims of crime,
Graves said. This award honors two young
crime victims whose deaths profoundly touched
Crystal Kipper was an 18-year-old
Gladstone, Mo., resident who was murdered after
her car broke down on Interstate 29, just north
of Platte City, on Feb. 24, 1997. Law enforcement
officials identified John E. Williams as the primary
suspect after he was arrested in a separate case,
for which he was later convicted. Graves, who
was then Platte County Prosecuting Attorney, was
preparing to file first-degree murder charges;
however, Williams committed suicide while in custody.
Ali Kemp was a 19-year-old Blue
Valley North High School graduate who was murdered
on June 18, 2002, while she worked at the Foxborough
neighborhood swimming pool in Leawood, Kan.
"We are especially pleased
this year to present the Crystal Kipper &
Ali Kemp Memorial Award to a company whose contributions
have not only assisted law enforcement agencies
in apprehending suspects in a number of violent
crimes, Graves said, but whose unique
role was pivotal in bringing the case of Ali Kemp
another step toward closure.
In February 2003, a few months
after Ali Kemps death, Lamar began erecting
billboards throughout the Kansas City area with
a sketch of the suspect. Those billboards proved
instrumental for Leawood, Kan., detectives who
made an arrest on Nov. 8, 2004, after a two-year
investigation. That arrest grew out of two calls
to the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline.
"One of the tips was generated from the billboards
along Kansas City highways, Graves said.
Those billboards, donated by Lamar Advertising,
featured the composite sketch of a possible suspect
provided by witnesses and a picture of a tan pickup
truck that may have been associated with the suspect.
Leawood investigators interviewed more than
1,300 people, compared DNA samples from more than
900 people, and followed up countless leads,
Graves added. Thanks to their tireless investigation,
they were positioned to take advantage of two
crucial leads, one generated by the Americas
Most Wanted television program and the other
by Lamars billboards.
Lamars contribution extends
well beyond the Kemp case, Graves noted. Their
billboards showing pictures or drawings of crime
suspects have been credited with leading to the
arrests of several persons wanted in local murder
cases, Graves said. Lamars unique
contribution is appreciated, not only by area
law enforcement officials, but by the families
of victims whose cases they help solve, including
the Kemp family.
The parents of Kipper and Kemp
participated in Tuesday's presentation of the
Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award to
Bob Fessler, vice president and general manager
of the Kansas City division of Lamar Advertising
Company, and Brian Henry, creative director at
the Kansas City division of Lamar Advertising
Each year during National Crime
Victims Rights Week, the Crystal Kipper
& Ali Kemp Memorial Award is presented in
recognition of an extra step taken to stop those
who would harm or exploit youth. Child protection
is my highest local priority, said Graves,
and this award will honor those who share
that conviction and work diligently on behalf
of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
"In recognition of their
laudable work on behalf of all victims of crime,
I would like to personally thank Bob Fessler and
Brian Henry of Lamar Advertising Company, and
present them with the second annual Crystal Kipper
& Ali Kemp Memorial Award.