Crime & Courts

Suspect in Tanya Tandoc’s death during 911 call: ‘I have murdered her’

Wichita police found the body of Tanya Tandoc in the basement of her house at 236 S. Minneapolis. (June 5, 2015)
Wichita police found the body of Tanya Tandoc in the basement of her house at 236 S. Minneapolis. (June 5, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

The man arrested in the murder of popular Wichita restaurateur Tanya Tandoc confessed in a call to 911 Thursday night, calling it “a crime of passion.”

“My name is Curt Mitchell,” a male caller stated to an emergency dispatcher at 11:21 p.m. Thursday. “You just had some officers come by.

“They were looking for a missing person, and they probably need to get back over here because I have murdered her.”

“I’m sorry,” the startled dispatcher replies. “You’ve done what?”

“I’ve killed her.”

Mitchell, 47, called 911 from 236 S. Minneapolis, where Tandoc lived. Officers found the body of Tandoc, the popular owner of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, in the basement of her house. That’s where Mitchell had been staying.

But that was about to change, Tandoc’s boyfriend told an emergency dispatcher when he called 911 to ask officers to check her welfare at 10:56 p.m. on Thursday.

Tandoc had informed Mitchell he needed to move out, “and he’s been very abusive towards her,” the caller told 911.

“I think he’s very pissed off that he has to leave, from what I’ve gathered from Tanya.”

Mitchell was jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder and is being held on $500,000 bond.

In his call to 911, Mitchell told the dispatcher he killed Tandoc on Wednesday.

“It happened last night,” he told the dispatcher on Thursday. “It was kind of a crime of passion.”

He told the dispatcher he would go out and sit on the front porch and wait for officers to arrive.

Homicide Lt. Todd Ojile said investigators think Tandoc was killed Wednesday night from blunt-force trauma.

In the call to 911 requesting officers to go check on her welfare, Tandoc’s boyfriend said, “We’re all very worried about her. She hasn’t been communicating with any of us.”

Tandoc had been to visit him on Wednesday night and then texted him at 9:20 p.m. to let him know she had made it home. She was going to call him later that night, but the call never came.

Friends became worried after Tandoc did not show up for a belly dancing performance at Riverfest early Thursday evening. When they went to her house to check on her, Mitchell said she wasn’t there.

Friends and co-workers at her business tried to contact her without success.

Investigators planned to present evidence in the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office on Monday. Mitchell could make his first appearance in Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday.

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

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