Crime & Courts

Fugitives wanted in Harvey County triple homicide

Jereme L. Nelson, left, and Myrta Rangel.
Jereme L. Nelson, left, and Myrta Rangel. Courtesy photos

Authorities are seeking two fugitives – who now face capital murder charges – in the killing of three people at a rural Harvey County home.

There is a multi-state search and an active investigation that continues to produce evidence, the Harvey County prosecutor said late Thursday afternoon.

The two fugitives, 34-year-old Jereme Nelson and 31-year-old Myrta Rangel, were last known to be in Oklahoma and driving a black-and-gold 1999 Ford pickup, authorities said Thursday.

Arrest warrants for the two have been issued, the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page. The bond for each is set at $1 million, the post said.

The warrants are for one count of capital murder and three other counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Travis Street, Angela Graevs and Richard Prouty, the office said.

“Nelson and Rangel are on the run and were last known to be somewhere in Oklahoma,” the sheriff’s office said. The investigation “continues as leads continue to come in.”

“The search is on a multi-state area surrounding Kansas,” Harvey County Attorney David Yoder told The Eagle on Thursday.

Stressing that there is an active investigation, Yoder said: “We do expect additional evidence will show up,” adding that some new evidence was obtained “just today.”

“And we anticipate there will be more,” he said.

So it’s possible that as more evidence is gained, additional people could be charged in connection with the killings, Yoder said.

The two criminal complaints against Nelson and Rangel, obtained by The Eagle from Harvey County District Court, show the two face the same charges in the killings Sunday: one count of capital murder and three counts of first-degree murder.

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The capital murder charge stems from the deaths of more than one person. If convicted of capital murder, a defendant can face the death penalty. The first-degree murder charges apply to each victim.

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton gives a news conference about the rural Harvey County, Kansas, triple homicide that occurred on Sunday. (Oct. 31, 2016) (Video by Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle)

In a news release Thursday seeking the public’s help in locating the suspects, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation described Nelson as a “34-year-old white male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing approximately 200 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.

“Myrta Rangel (Lopez), age 31, is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs approximately 125 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.”

“Nelson and Rangel are considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached,” the KBI said. “If you have information about their (whereabouts), please contact the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME or the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office at (316) 284-6960. Callers may remain anonymous.”

The bodies of Street, 33, Graevs, 37, and Prouty, 52, were found outside a rural home on Spring Lake Road on Sunday evening. Street and Graevs were a couple and lived at the home west of Hesston. Prouty, of Newton, was their friend. Each was shot, authorities have said.

The couple’s 18-month-old son was found inside the home unharmed but crying and screaming.

Sheriff T. Walton and Yoder, the prosecutor, said Wednesday that the motive appeared to be drug-related. Street and Graevs were facing drug and child-endangerment charges.

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton briefed local media on one woman and two men found dead on a rural county driveway west of Hesston. (Video by Beccy Tanner / The Wichita Eagle / Oct. 30, 2016)

Authorities on Wednesday said that Nelson was a person of interest wanted for questioning in the triple homicide case.

He has convictions for criminal possession of a firearm by a felon and drug-related crimes. He absconded from his probation supervision in September, records show. He had Augusta or Rose Hill addresses, according to records.

Rangel has a drug-possession conviction for which she was sentenced in 2009, records show. She is last known to have lived in the Wichita area, Yoder said.

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