Commonwealth Journal

Columns

November 9, 2011

Two years later, family of Price has questions

Somerset — It was unseasonably bright and warm on Nov. 28, 2009 — the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Lela Whitaker walked outside and said a prayer that her grandson, Kevin Price, would be found that day.

“About that time the whitest dove I’ve ever seen flew right over where I was standing,” Lela recalled. “I felt a sense of peace.”

Later that day, the charred remains of the 22-year-old Price were found in a secluded wooded area. He was the victim of a brutal murder.

Lela Whitaker had already reluctantly come to grips with the reality that her grandson would not be found alive and well. She knew from the beginning of this tragic case that he was dead.

“The family waited until the next day — Nov. 10 — to tell me that he was missing,” Lela, now 82,  said. “My daughter, Lisa, said ‘Kevin is missing ... but he’s probably OK.’ I looked at her and said, ‘No, Kevin isn’t with us anymore.’ I felt a deep void.”

Kevin Price went missing two years ago today.

The ordeal would be a nightmare under the best of circumstances — that justice was swiftly served. But that has not been the case.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has been frustrated by the lack of information. They continue to work on the case tirelessly.

“I know (Pulaski County Sheriff’s Det. Scott Trotter) has worked night and day,” a very understanding Lela Whitaker said. “It’s like putting together a puzzle. There are just a couple of pieces missing.”

For the past two years, Lela Whitaker and her family have answered countless questions from law enforcement and the media.

But Lela Whitaker has questions of her own. Questions that haunt her. Questions she needs answered.

The questions are for  the person — or persons — who brutally murdered her grandson.

So today we give Lela Whitaker a forum to ask her questions.

“It’s been two years since Kevin Price, my grandson, was murdered,” Lela said. “If by chance you the killer, or killers, are reading this ... I’d like to ask you some questions ...

“1. Did you go home that night and sleep well or did you stay awake all night?

“2. Did you wonder if the fire was still burning to destroy all of the evidence or did you visit the scene to make sure?

“3. Do you see Kevin’s face in the dark when you’re trying to sleep?

“4. Did Kevin plead for his life? What were his final words?

“5. Are you better off now than you were then?

“6. Are you proud of yourself because you have not been caught yet or are you afraid that any moment you will be caught?

“7. What has it been like to know you murdered someone?

“8. Do you know or care that you broke so many hearts because Kevin was loved so much by his family?”

Lela Whitaker, her son Jeff (Kevin’s father), and the entire family who grieve for Kevin deserve answers to these questions.

Perhaps the answers will come soon.

“Kevin deserves to be remembered as a loving, kind human being whose life was taken by a cruel, cold-hearted person or persons, leaving us only with memories and a little box of ashes,” Lela said. ‘Please don’t forget that Kevin’s murder has not been solved. If someone knows something, please call the sheriff’s office. We need your help.”

Det. Trotter or Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker can be reached at 678-5145.

Lela Whitaker and her family deserve closure.

But, more importantly, Kevin Price deserves justice.

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