Toddler Lana-Leigh Bailey believed dead, search for her body - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Toddler Lana-Leigh Bailey believed dead, suspect in custody

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Kaylie Bailey and daughter Lana-Leigh Bailey Kaylie Bailey and daughter Lana-Leigh Bailey
Kyle Flack's most recent mugshot Kyle Flack's most recent mugshot
Kyle Flack is accused of first-degree murder Kyle Flack is accused of first-degree murder
OTTAWA, KS (KCTV) -

Hopes were crushed Thursday morning when authorities announced that they believed that Lana-Leigh Bailey is dead, and they are searching for her body.

Lana's mother and two others were found dead on the farm earlier this week.

Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said Kyle Trevor Flack, 27, was arrested early Thursday morning on charges of first-degree murder and is being held in the Franklin County Jail. He had been taken into custody about 24 hours earlier in Emporia on a charge out of Osage County. He was booked in on the murder charge at 4:35 a.m.

Hunting said he and his office are working around-the-clock with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement officials to determine the specific formal charges that should be filed against Flack. Hunting did not say when he anticipates filing those charges.

"It is with a great deal of sadness that we all come before you today and to say that we presume that Lana Bailey is dead. We have still not recovered the body," Hunting said. "That is why we are presuming that she is dead. We have information that leads us to believe that, but we still have not recovered the body."

Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards said the search will continue for the 18-month-old baby until her body is found.

Officers on horses were used in the search Thursday along with officers on all-terrain vehicles. Some officers went shoulder to shoulder as they searched fields and wooded areas in Franklin County.

Areas in and around Emporia were also being searched. The FBI confirmed the search in Lyon County is related to the Franklin County murders.

Chopper5 flew over the scene in Lyon County and saw plainclothes detectives and officers searching an abandoned farmhouse and barn. A large pond is also on the property.

Family members were devastated by the news.

Rachel Helms, Lana's paternal grandmother, had strong words for Flack.

"I hope and I pray that my granddaughter's big blue eyes stare at him in his face, in his sleep, in his waking hours every moment for the rest of his life," Helms said. "She was a very loving little girl. She loved you through her eyes and you could tell it. When she looked at you, you couldn't help but smile."

Deborah Gard, Lana's paternal great-grandmother, broke down during a telephone interview with KCTV's Sandra Olivas.

"I can't even put it into words right now. I am so numb, so aggravated. It's just, my God, I can't believe they would hurt an 18-month-old," she said. "What kind of people are in this world? Oh my God."

Richards said a team from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is sending a team to assist in the search. He made clear that turning the search to a recovery rather than a rescue was incredibly tough for law enforcement officials.

"Information developed overnight indicates that Lana is presumed to be a victim of homicide," Richards said. "Finding Lana is a top priority for our investigators. We will exhaust every lead and follow up every tip until we bring her home."

Authorities had issued an endangered child alert for Lana on Wednesday but the Kansas Bureau of Investigations declined Franklin County's request that an Amber Alert be issued, saying too much time had passed since she was last seen.

A Kansas law that takes effect July 1 will allow loved ones to file missing persons reports sooner. The new law requires law enforcement to take a report immediately and enter it into the Kansas Bureau of Investigations database.

There was a several day delay between when Bailey and Lana were last seen and when police began to search for them.

Part of the investigation will determine whether anyone else was involved.

"Just because we have one person in custody doesn't mean we are going to stop," Richards said. "If we have other information or other leads, we will follow them. I believe the victims deserve that.'

Police stopped Flack and two others in Emporia early Wednesday morning. Flack had lived at the farm with Andrew Stout, 30, Steven Eugene White, 31, and a fourth man. Friends of Stout and White told KCTV5 that Flack and the second man had been kicked out within the past eight weeks.

The bodies of Stout, White and Lana's mother, Kaylie Bailey, were found earlier this week after a friend of Stout's went to feed the then missing man's pets.

Stout, who owned the property, was dating Bailey. The 21-year-old woman had left her home in Olathe on May 1 to take her daughter to Stout so he could watch the baby while she worked an overnight shift at an Ottawa business.

White's mother has said she feared the murders were drug related. Richards declined to discuss a motive during Thursday's news conference.

Gard said she hopes inmates will force Flack and anyone else responsible to look at Lana's picture.

"They have to pay the price. I think whatever cell they put him in that those adults and baby's picture should be plastered in there, that he should have to look at it everyday, when he wakes up and every night when he goes to sleep," she said. "He should have to look at what he's done."

Flack spent time in Kansas prisons for shooting a man, who later died.

He was originally convicted in 2005 of attempted second-degree murder. He served less than four years in prison and his monitoring by the Kansas Department of Corrections ended on April 2, 2012.

Flack has ties to some of Lana's paternal family.

The sister of the man shot multiple times by Flack spoke to KCTV5. She said that her brother had hired the then 19-year-old Flack but had to fire him for laziness. Stephanie Ingram told the newspaper that Flack laid in wait and shot her brother five times. Flack was convicted of attempted murder.

Steven Dale Free died in 2011 from lung cancer, and he still had shrapnel in his lungs.

Lana's father is in a Missouri jail and has been since January after he was accused of burglarizing a home.

If you have any information about the case, call the Franklin County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-888-311-8477.

Bailey's family is seeking donations to pay for her and her daughter's funeral. A fund has been created at Unity One Credit Union, 4105 Kansas Ave., Kansas, KS, 66016. Attention: Bailey Family Fund. To wire money, call the bank at 913-342-9039.

Editor's Note: This story previously said the charge against Flack was upgraded to murder after Free died. That was incorrect.

KCTV5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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