During one of 15-year-old Nathan Dorl’s last moments in his Derby home Sunday morning – seconds after having his throat stabbed – he locked himself and his 11-year-old sister in a bedroom for protection.
Moments later, after he heard police sirens wailing, they left the room. Their mother, Lonnie Staggs, 44, was dead. Chuck Beck, her live-in boyfriend suspected of stabbing Nathan, had fled the scene.
“That’s something no boy should have to go through,” Angel Hallock, whose own 15-year-old son, Jonathan, has been close friends with Nathan since fifth grade, said Tuesday. “But he fought off Chuck and kept his sister safe. He was so brave and strong.”
Nathan was taken to Wesley Medical Center for treatment and later released. He returned to the house in the 1400 block of North Nixon, near 71st Street South and K-15, to pick up a few things and quickly left, Hallock said.
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The maternal grandparents came to Wichita on Sunday and took him and his sister, Breanna Williamson, to their home in northern Oklahoma, where the children will now live, Hallock said.
Their fathers are not involved in their lives, according to Hallock and family members.
What Hallock knows of what happened shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday in Derby comes from information that Nathan told his grandma, Hallock said.
She said she was more concerned in seeing how Nathan was than having him describe the details of that horrific moment.
“He really is family,” Hallock said.
Beck, 40, a convicted felon, turned himself in to Missouri authorities Sunday night.
About 8 p.m. Sunday, Derby police alerted south-central Missouri law enforcement that Beck was probably headed their way because he had family in the area. A few minutes later, Beck called 911 to say he was ready to give himself up.
“I put a team together and went out to meet him,” said Sheriff James Sigman of Texas County, Mo., which is about 100 miles east of Springfield, Mo.
Beck was taken into custody at a family member’s home in Roby, Mo., in the northern part of Texas County.
He’s in the Texas County Jail while extradition procedures are being processed.
“I don’t believe he’ll fight extradition,” Sigman said, “but you never know.”
If Beck does challenge extradition, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback would have to get a warrant from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, said Georgia Cole, spokeswoman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.
Derby police have released few details about what happened during Sunday’s altercation. The autopsy report on Staggs isn’t complete, Lt. Jimmy Queen said, so the cause of death hasn’t been determined.
According to scanner traffic, as the ambulance was rushing Staggs to the hospital before she was pronounced dead, EMS personnel said she was strangled.
Police Chief Robert Lee has declined for now to call Staggs’ death a homicide, going no further than calling the death “obviously very suspicious.” He referred further questions about the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.
Nothing had been presented to the D.A.’s office for consideration of charges as of Tuesday, Cole said. The warrant for Beck’s arrest was for attempted homicide in the stabbing of Nathan.
“I would expect us to do something in the next day or two,” she added.
Beck will go before a Missouri judge in the next day or two, Sigman said. The Labor Day weekend has slowed the process, he noted.
Meanwhile, Hallock isn’t waiting to help Nathan, Breanna and their grandparents. She has initiated a fundraising effort and collection of clothes and other appropriate items for the children.
“They need clothes, supplies for school,” she said. “They have almost nothing. They weren’t able to take a lot from the home. We want to help them be able to start over.”
Plus, she said, Lonnie Staggs’ parents need financial help to bury their daughter and get started raising Nathan and Breanna.
Donations can be made at youcaring.com/prayfornathan or by dropping them off at Roy Group Realtors, 144 N. Oliver in Wichita, or at Village Inn at 1200 N. Rock Road in Derby. Staggs used to work at Village Inn.
Hallock said she knew very little about Staggs, Beck or their relationship.
“My concern is for the children,” she said. “Nathan has spent a lot of time at our house.”
Nathan had just started his freshman year at Derby High School; Breanna as student at the Derby Sixth Grade Center. Nathan and Jonathan played baseball and sandlot football together.
Hallock and her family were at the hospital Sunday when Nathan was being treated. When he was released and wearing blue hospital scrubs, she gave him some of Jonathan’s clothes to wear.
The clothes he had been wearing were covered with blood. Hallock said Nathan had a knife wound to his neck and that his hands were injured.
“It rips me up every time I think about what he went through,” she said. “He’s strong and smart.”
Hallock said she also knows the children want to live with their grandparents. Nathan often talked about how much he enjoyed visiting them.
“He’s in the best place possible,” she said, “but we’re going to miss him.”