A Kansas City man has been charged
with rape and is suspected of murder after one of
the most horrid local crimes in recent history struck
the Platte City community early Saturday.
The night of crime included the
rape of a Platte City woman in her home on Maple
Drive and the death of her husband, whose body was
found along a dead-end outer road on the east side
of Interstate 29 about two miles north of the Mexico
City exit near KCI Airport.
Jacob E. McGinniss, 24, a resident
of the Springs apartments on Barry Road, was charged
with rape and armed criminal action early Sunday
morning by Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd.
Authorities confirm they consider McGinniss the
only suspect at this point in the killing of the
woman's husband, Steven J. Sandoval, 32, of Platte
McGinniss is being held in the Platte
County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only
Zahnd emphasized that although McGinniss
already faces the court action in regard to the
rape, he has not yet been charged in the death of
"The (murder) investigation
continues to progress," Zahnd said, declining
to pinpoint a time frame on when charges might be
Platte City police investigated
the rape; Kansas City police are handling the murder
investigation since the body was found just a matter
of feet inside the city limits of Kansas City.
Prosecutors allege McGinniss used
a shotgun to threaten the rape victim, bringing
the armed criminal action charge. In her statements
to authorities, the victim described McGinniss as
the best friend of her husband, whose body was found
about four hours after the rape was reported. The
wife told authorities she has known McGinniss for
about six years, and that McGinniss had been with
her husband in their residence Friday evening.
The prosecutor declined to discuss
further details of the alleged case against the
suspect. But drawing information from court papers,
police reports, an interview with a relative of
the murder victim, and interviews with sources close
to the investigation who spoke on the condition
of anonymity, what follows is a synopsis compiled
by The Landmark of how authorities believe the evening
may have unfolded.
A TRIP TO THE PARK
The two men, McGinniss and Sandoval,
had left Sandoval's home Friday evening to spend
time at an area park.
"What we've been told is that
this guy (McGinniss) wanted to talk to Steven and
said 'Let's go to the park, I need to talk to you
about something,'" said Bryan Gallegos, a first
cousin of Sandoval.
Gallegos, who is a reporter for
the Grand Junction Free Press in Grand Junction,
Colo., was interviewed over the phone by The
Landmark Tuesday afternoon.
Sandoval's wife apparently never
saw him again after the men left for the park, which
one source said is believed to be Weston Bend State
At 1:43 a.m. Saturday, Platte City
police were dispatched to a 911 hang- up call at
the Sandoval residence on Maple Drive. The victim
told authorities McGinniss entered her home through
an unlocked kitchen door. She said the suspect woke
her up and she noticed he had a shotgun.
The victim reported the suspect
told her that he had her husband duct taped in the
trunk of his car. It should be noted at this point
that authorities do not believe Sandoval was in
the trunk of the car at the time of the rape. Sources
told The Landmark investigators at this juncture
are operating under the belief that Sandoval had
already been killed prior to the rape taking place.
The Sandovals have two children.
Reports vary on whether one or both of the children
were home at the time of the attack. A Platte City
police report mentions only the three-year-old son,
however, another source says a nine-year-old daughter
may have also been in the home at the time. Whichever
the case, neither child was harmed.
The woman told police she observed
the suspect load the weapon. With the threat of
the shotgun, he forced her to disrobe and raped
her on the bed in the master bedroom, court papers
According to a police report, after
the rape, McGinniss told the woman he was going
to kill himself. She attempted to calm him down
by telling him he could still run away. He left
through the kitchen door, the police report indicates.
The suspect told the victim that
he was driving a Monte Carlo that belonged to his
roommate. After the suspect left, she dialed 911
on the phone base but was unable to speak to the
dispatcher because the suspect had taken all the
phone cords from the house. He had also taken her
purse so she could not get to her cell phone, according
to the police report.
During his estimated 30 minutes
in the house, McGinniss allegedly told the victim
that he had "killed or hurt" three other
people earlier in the night, and that as a result
Steven Sandoval had become angry, so the suspect
claimed he duct tape Sandoval and put him in the
trunk of the car.
He told the woman he would drop
off her husband at the Comfort Inn in Platte City,
where the husband's parents were staying. The parents,
residents of Garden Plain, Ks., were in Platte City
to celebrate the third birthday of Sandoval's son,
Again, however, from information
obtained by The Landmark, authorities believe
Sandoval likely had already been left for dead on
the outer road along the interstate prior to McGinniss
coming to the house on Maple Drive in Platte City.
THE MURDER SCENE
Sources close to the investigation
speaking on the condition of anonymity say they
believe Sandoval's killer drove him to a little
used dead-end outer road on the east side of Interstate
29 about one mile north of North Bethel Ave. An
overpass with no interstate access crosses over
I-29 at North Bethel Avenue. The murder took place
about a mile north of that overpass on a narrow
two-lane dead-end asphalt road.
The road ends at a line of trees
near the beginning of the city limits of Kansas
City. The crime occurred near the end of that roadway,
Sandoval's body lying toward the edge of the asphalt,
It is believed Sandoval was shot
while standing outside the vehicle. Sources say
he was shot three times in the back with a shotgun.
From the crime scene, the Williamsburg
Plaza Apartments of Platte City can be viewed looking
to the east across I-29. To the immediate west of
the crime scene is a field, part of which has been
used as a site for illegal dumping of old televisions,
freezers, other appliances and old carpeting, etc.
To reach the scene of the homicide
traveling from Platte City, a motorist must drive
south on I-29 to the Mexico City exit, travel east
on the overpass above the interstate, then take
a left (north) onto an outer road. About a mile
north of Mexico City Ave., the outer road swings
to the east and intersects with North Bethel Ave.
At that intersection is an older outer road marked
with a "dead end" sign. A left turn (north)
onto that dead-end road, which is virtually hidden
from the nearby interstate, will lead to the crime
scene, about one mile from where the newer outer
road intersects with North Bethel Ave.
Authorities say two teenagers discovered
Sandoval's body about 5:30 a.m. Saturday. The Platte
County Sheriff's Department initially responded
to the scene, but Kansas City police were called
when it was determined the body was lying inside
the city limits of Kansas City by a matter of feet.
SUSPECT FOUND NEAR IOWA
A Missouri State Highway Patrol
trooper took McGinniss into custody early Saturday
in rural Putnam County, near the Iowa border. Authorities
said McGinniss was naked in the back seat of his
car parked along a cornfield. The vehicle contained
weapons, and a source said the shotgun allegedly
used in the crimes has been recovered.
The trooper detained McGinniss because
he believed he was high on methamphetamine, according
to law enforcement sources. It wasn't until later,
after taking McGinniss to a hospital, that authorities
realized they had captured a man wanted for questioning
in a rape and murder in Platte County.
Authorities are still gathering
information on McGinniss' background. The rape victim
told police that McGinniss had been in a mental
hospital at one time and was on medication. A law
enforcement source confirmed for The Landmark that
McGinniss has "a history of treatment for mental
At a court appearance in front of
Platte County Circuit Judge Daniel Czamanske on
Monday, McGinniss was very subdued in answering
the judge and drooled from his mouth. The judge
at one point asked the bailiff to wipe the moisture
from the suspect's face.
Next scheduled court appearance
for McGinniss is Tuesday, Sept. 20, when it is expected
either the public defender or a private attorney
will enter an appearance on his behalf.
MURDER VICTIM REMEMBERED
Bryan Gallegos, the Colorado journalist
who is a first cousin to Steven Sandoval, remembered
his relative as being "pretty laid back.
Gallegos said the two hadn't seen
one another in several years, but had been close
while growing up.
"I'm several years older than
he was," said Gallegos, 43.
"He was kind of like a little
brother to me. It's shocking," he said from
his home in western Colorado.
"He was pretty laid back. He
was the type of guy who would give you the shirt
off his back if he could. He was a helpful type
Gallegos said his mother and Sandoval's
mother are sisters.
A complete obituary is published
on page A-3 in this issue of The Landmark.
It describes Sandoval as an accountant who attended
the First Baptist Church in Platte City. It also
describes him as a "true Raider fan.
Services are set for 11 a.m. Thursday
at the First Baptist Church in Platte City.