Crime & Courts

Woman jailed in woman’s death after argument at southeast Wichita party (VIDEO)

Wichita police investigate the scene Monday morning where a 31-year-old woman was struck by a car in what was initially described as a hit-and-run on Pattie, just south of Pawnee, around 9 p.m. Sunday night. (May 18, 2015)
Wichita police investigate the scene Monday morning where a 31-year-old woman was struck by a car in what was initially described as a hit-and-run on Pattie, just south of Pawnee, around 9 p.m. Sunday night. (May 18, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

A 31-year-old woman has been booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder after an argument at a party culminated in the death of the hostess Sunday night, police said.

Lydia Treto, 31, died after she was struck by a maroon Ford Explorer shortly after 9 p.m. in the backyard of the house at 2401 S. Pattie, near Pawnee and Hydraulic.

“This was not a hit-and-run,” Lt. Todd Ojile said. “It appeared to be a deliberate act.”

Ojile gave this account:

The victim, identified in a police document as Treto, was hosting a small party at her house for four adults and several children. At some point, the victim and suspect got into an argument that escalated into “a physical confrontation,” Ojile said.

The suspect, a friend of Treto, was asked to leave. She took her two children, a 4-month-old and a 10-year-old, and got into an early 2000s model Ford Explorer. Treto and a male emerged from a side door into the backyard.

According to witnesses, the suspect then gunned her vehicle and drove through the fence into the backyard. The Explorer struck Treto and killed her.

The suspect then left the scene. Over the course of the ensuing investigation, police identified a suspect and located her in the 4000 block of East Cessna in the Planeview neighborhood. She was arrested and her maroon Ford Explorer impounded for evidence.

Treto’s three children, all of whom are under 10 years of age, witnessed the incident, Ojile said. They were taken downtown for questioning. Relatives were contacted to be there with the children while they were questioned.

“Obviously, it’s very difficult for them,” Ojile said. “We brought in some investigators that have special training in talking with children to speak with them.”

The two children of the suspect were placed into protective custody by police.

Ojile said investigators aren’t sure what the two women were arguing about before the fatal incident.

“We’re still trying to figure that out,” he said.

Investigators think alcohol played a role, Ojile said. Crime-scene tape had been removed by early Monday afternoon from around the small, two-bedroom house that records show was built in 1910.

A significant portion of the metal fence enclosing the backyard still lay in a mangled heap, a gate post torn out of the muddy soil. Children’s toys were scattered in the yard.

This is the 10th homicide of the year in Wichita, Ojile said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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