Kansas man facing litany of child & animal sex crimes sentenced on just two

LABETTE COUNTY, Kans. — After a six-year court battle, a Labette County man is sentenced for sex crimes against children.

Labette County Judge Steve Stockard sentenced Jered Bybee, 38, to two life sentences.

Bybee originally faced 34 charges of sex crimes that included four counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, 24 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, and six counts of criminal sodomy between a person and an animal. He pleaded guilty to two of those charges in April 2022.

The Kansas Attorney General said Bybee’s, and co-defendant Sasha Bruner’s, victims were children under the age of 10.

Jered Bybee and Sasha Bruner

Bybee was charged under “Jessica’s Law.” The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a young Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey, a previously convicted sex offender. The law substantially increases the penalties even for a first-time offender with no prior criminal history. In Kansas, it means Bybee will serve a mandatory minimum of 25 years without possibility of parole when convicted of a specified sexual assault on a child under the age of 14 if the convicted person was over 18 at the time the crime was committed.

The case stems from incidents dating back to 2013. Bybee was originally charged in 2016 and Bruner in 2017. Bruner pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. She pleaded guilty to rape and sexual exploitation of a child for possessing child pornography.

Bybee’s case went through a number of defense attorneys, a judge’s retirement, a claim of mental defect and then COVID.

He will be eligible for parole in 25 years.

Flags are to fly at half-staff Wednesday and Thursday

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Flags will be flying at half-staff Wednesday through Thursday.

Wednesday is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It was 81 years ago when a sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy struck America’s naval base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The attack killed over 2,400 American service members and civilians and wounded over 1,000. In addition, the bombing raid destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels and over 300 aircraft.

It was the final catalyst that brought the United States into World War II. The following day, Dec. 8, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Imperial Japan.

Governor Laura Kelly has ordered flags be flown at half-staff starting at sunrise Wednesday through sundown Thursday.

“I encourage all Kansans to join me in remembering those killed on December 7, 1941, and in honoring all veterans and service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country,” says Kelly in a news release.

Big increase in DUI arrests in Kansas over the Thanksgiving holiday

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Figures from the special traffic enforcement conducted by the Kansas Highway Patrol over the Thanksgiving holiday show a nearly double increase in the number of arrests for DUI.

In 2020, 17 people were arrested for DUI. In 2021, that number dropped to 15. This year, 29 people were arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in Kansas.

The KHP says it investigated one fatal crash that appears to be DUI-related. Troopers say they also investigated two separate crashes that killed four people.

The KHP issued 1,087 speeding tickets over the holiday, which is 343 fewer than last year. In addition, there were 88 citations for adult seatbelt violations, compared to 103 in 2021. Twelve citations were issued for teenage seatbelt violations compared to eight in 2021, and 13 were given for unrestrained children, compared to 15 in 2021.

The enforcement ran from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Runaway teen dies in head-on crash near Parsons

PARSONS, Kans. — A juvenile is dead after Parsons Police said the teen stole a vehicle before crashing it head-on with a tractor trailer last week.

On Thursday, officers with PPD responded to a wreck to US 400 Hwy – just west of US 58 Hwy Junction for a crash. At the scene they would find a 2022 GMC Sierra pickup with a 13-year-old in the driver’s seat alone suffering serious injuries.

EMS transported the teen to Labette Health to stabilize them before flying him to another facility. The driver of the tractor trailer was uninjured and its passenger was evaluated by EMS, PPD said in a release. PPD Chief Robert Spinks said that the teen did not survive.

The teen was reported as a runaway from Successful Dreams, an outreach house in Parsons dedicated to helping disabled youth experiencing crisis. The GMC Sierra was found to be stolen from Tom Davis Auto Group.

Kansas Highway Patrol has since taken over the investigation.

"Same Day Access" program offers new mental health services in Kansas

PARSONS, Kans.— Changes in what’s offered at the Labette Center for Mental Health Services in Parsons are on the horizon. One is already being offered. It’s “Same Day Access” to intake assessments regarding one’s mental health and substance abuse.

It’s the first step in an overall plan for the center to become a federally Certified Community Behavioral Health Center. Officials began the certification process in late September. Official designation is expected sometime next year.

“So what CCBHC certification really does — is it wraps core services around people. It really looks at how do we provide holistic care — how are we meeting our community needs for people that have mental health needs, substance abuse needs, medical needs — and providing holistic care to improve our community. We know that when people have their mental health care, their substance abuse care, and their medical care — all addressed at the same time — they have better lives — better outcomes and more improvement,” said Misti Mustain, Director of Clinical Programs.

The services are offered at Labette Center’s main office located at 1730 Belmont in Parsons, KS. during the following times:

Mental Health Intake Assessment
Monday through Friday – 8:15 a.m. until 10:15 a.m.
Tuesday – 3:15 p.m. until 5:15 p.m.
Wednesday – 11:15 a.m. until 2:15 p.m.

Substance Use Intake Assessment
Monday – 8:15 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. until 5:15 p.m.
Tuesday – 3:15 p.m. until 5:15 p.m.
Wednesday – 12:15 p.m. until 2:15 p.m.

For more information about Same Day Access, contact 620-421-3770 or visit their website here.

New type of film could rejuvenate film photography

PARSONS, Kans. — Film photographers now have a new and exciting option when it comes to shooting and developing still photos. Los Angeles based, CineStill Film recently released their new 400D color negative film. The 400D film is a little different compared to other films sold by CineStill. According to the company’s website, this new film is based on advanced technology found in motion picture emulsions, and at the same time delivers features exclusive to still photography materials in both unexposed and processed states. The 400D joins CineStill’s popular 800T and 50D films.

One company specializing in film sales and processing is Dwayne’s Photo located in Parsons, Kansas. Co-owner, Derek Carter said the 400D film is now available for sale on their website and expects it to quickly become a popular choice among film photographers. “We’ve really been seeing a resurgence in film shooting for the last several years now and we’ve been incredibly excited about it. With the announcement of the new CineStill 400D, it’s kind of a big indicator that the industry is coming out with new film stocks now. This is one of the first big, new ones that’s recently been released,” said Carter.

The new CineStill 400D film and its versatility is well-described by PopPhoto, a photography and photo gear news and reviews website:

“As the name suggests, 400D is a 400-speed, daylight-balanced film, which makes it CineStill’s most versatile stock so far. The 800T’s color balance makes it neutral under tungsten lighting, when means it’s difficult to get neutral colors under typical daylight’s conditions. The 50D has a finer grain, but it’s three full stops slower, which can be impractical in all but the brightest working conditions.”

Stan Horaczek – Writer for PopPhoto

| Why Webb City Schools Uses A Bearded Dragon For Therapy >

“Now there’s more options for film shooters. The industry was declining for a very long time and a lot of film stock got cancelled and they weren’t making it anymore. Now, companies are starting to release new film and new film stocks and it’s another option for film shooters to keep expanding,” said Derek Carter with Dwayne’s Photo.

Carter said the announcement of this new option for film photographers is welcoming news, especially for those who are returning to their film roots from digital, but also for those who have found their way to film photography for the first time. “The percentage of first-time film shooters that we get as customers is growing dramatically. Probably 20% or 30% of our new customers are all first time film shooters. It’s also a lot of young folks too. 18-to-30 year olds are picking up film for the first time and finding cameras from their parents or grandparents, and are really getting into the the hobby for the first time.”

You can find CineStill 400D film on the Dwayne’s Photo website, HERE.

More information about CineStill 400D film can be found, HERE.

Special guests were in attendance at Great Plains Industrial Park's 10th anniversary

PARSONS, Kans. — A fixture of the Parsons business community celebrates its past while looking ahead to the future. Today marked 10 years for Great Plains Industrial Park.

The anniversary attracted some big names, including Kansas Lieutenant Governor David Toland and Senator Jerry Moran.

The site announced a major partnership with “ParkMyFleet” and “Solar Earth Technologies” to build the country’s first carbon-neutral industrial park.

“We see Great Plains Industrial Park as a groundbreaking project. There’s so many aspects about it in terms of sustainability and decarbonization that I thought as a perfect match for what ParkMyFleet core values and visions is,” said Paras Sethi, ParkMyFleet Director of Energy and Strategy.

“ParkMyFleet” is a nationwide mobility company that offers end-to-end fleet services at its hubs across the country.

Parsons Police Department adopts the Pink Patch Project

PARSONS, Kans. — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Parsons Police Department will be honoring those affected.

Officers will have pink mourning bands over their badges.

Agencies adopted the Pink Patch Project in 2013, from the Seal Beach Police Department.

“During the pandemic it’s estimated that 10,000,000 did not go and get their mammograms. And so now in our case, having that extra little pink ribbon on our badge it is also a conversation starter. And so we hope to get folks out to get those mammograms and hopefully be a lifesaver for everybody,” said Robert Spinks, Parsons Police Chief.

The Parsons Police Department has staff members who have been affected by this deadly disease, and they are actively raising awareness for its cure.

Congressman Jake LaTurner visits Southeast Kansas

PARSONS, Kans. — A Kansas congressman makes a trip home this weekend.

Jake LaTurner joined other Kansas Republican lawmakers on a bus tour around the state, stopping in various small communities.

The tour started last Wednesday and before wrapping up on Monday, will make 27 stops across the state.

Today’s stops included “Pete’s Travel Plaza” in Parsons to prepare communities for the upcoming November election.

LaTurner is originally from Galena and he says Southeast Kansas will always hold a special place in his heart.

“And the folks down here are fantastic, they’ve been so good to me and my family. We’ve been here for six generations, and so the opportunity to come down here, talk to voters about energy, about the economy, about our border, is a tremendous honor,” said Congressman Jake LaTurner, Kansas 2nd Congressional District.

LaTurner is currently finishing up his first term as a Republican in the 2nd Congressional District.

He is running for re-election in November, facing Democrats Patrick Schmidt and Michael Soetaert.

KBI: Bodies found by authorities in eastern Kansas identified, cause of death revealed

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) has released an update regarding two people who were found dead on Monday in rural Mound Valley, Kansas.

Autopsies revealed that both victims died of gunshot wounds, and the cases are now considered homicides.

The KBI says the victims have been identified as Leanda R. Pound, 43, of Mound Valley, and Jason M. Bakken, 39, of Mound Valley.

A news release from the KBI says on Monday, Oct. 3, around 8:30 a.m., the Labette County Sheriff’s Office requested KBI assistance in an investigation of two people who were found dead.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME. You can also submit a tip online at https://www.kbi.ks.gov/sar.

This investigation is ongoing, and no other information has been released at this time.