Most people have barely heard of Kansas city (or St. Louis for that matter). I know because I used to work the Missouri Department of Health and when I would tell them I was in Missouri, they would struggle to come up with cities in my state. Usually if I told them Kansas City I would get the inevitable question “Wait, isn’t that in Kansas?”
It’s true, part of it is in Kansas. Just like part of St. Louis is in Illinois. However, the majority of both cities is in Missouri. Now, I could have easily placed all my books in St. Louis, it is probably the better known city in Missouri, but…
Kansas City is just a weird place. It always has been. For instance, while most of the country dealt with Prohibition after the 18th Amendment was passed, Kansas City just ignored it. The number of bars and saloons that were available to the public outnumbered even larger cities like New York and Chicago. While speakeasies existed, they were not much of a secret either. And like New York and Chicago it did develop a mob problem during the 1920s – 1950s, but unlike New York and Chicago, it was dealt with more swiftly and severely. There was even a massacre in downtown Kansas City when gangsters tried to free Frank Nash from the FBI in the 1930s.
The Church of the Latter Day Saints owns several hundred acres of undeveloped land just north of Kansas City. Joseph Smith had originally intended to build his utopia in KC, but he had several clashes with Missouri lawmen and civilians who didn’t want it. He was eventually run off and the land rights have been in dispute since then, which is why it remains undeveloped and the utopia was built in Utah.
It really does have a huge Russian immigrant population and it is a stronghold for the at least one Russian mob family, possibly several more. It is only one of four cities to ever have someone die of Krokodil in the US, a strange drug popular with Ukrainian drug dealers and Russian drug users that causes necrosis of the tissue at the site of injection that spreads out from there.
There are several paranormal stories that surround Kansas City. Everything from UFO flaps (as recent as 2015) to demonic possession to the destruction of a building by a poltergeist exists there. Also, it is said the reason Joseph Smith wanted to build his utopia in KC is because the angel, Meroni, who had shown him where to find the golden tablets, had reappeared to him while he was travelling west and told him to build it in Kansas City and in theory, there is a prophecy involved which supposedly stated that if Smith died before the LSD began building it’s utopia in KC, the land would never be usable… So far, that’s proved to be true (and Smith died in either Iowa or Illinois after being chased out of Missouri). Furthermore, there have been manifestations of the devil and Jesus Christ in KC, which sounds like the ramblings of a mad man, but considering all the other crap that goes on there, might just be an average day there.
The crime rate is one of the most fluid in the country. One year, murder might jump by forty percent and the following year it will be down by more than seventy. However, violent crime has been on the rise for the last decade there.
The Missouri River begins to bisect the state of Missouri in Kansas City. For some reason, there is an abnormal amount of bodies pulled from the Missouri River in Kansas City regardless of where they went in. They have pulled bodies out that disappeared in Montana in Kansas City. Since the river has dams along it far north of KC, you’d think they would find them there, but somehow, they slip through and are recovered in KC.
This has created a slight problem with crime statistics in Kansas City. The FBI has admitted that they cannot estimate the number of serial killers there because the Missouri River seems to hide a lot of sins. In terms of per capita, it might be the serial killer capital of the US. New York and Los Angeles both have more active serial killers, but they also have much larger populations (8 million and 3 million, respectively), whereas Kansas City and surrounding areas only has a population of about 1 million and the estimated number of active serial killers rarely drops below ten (FYI, that’s actually a really high number for any city, the last estimate I heard for NYC was 16, LA 15, Chicago 15, and Seattle 8 – all of which have at least double the population of KC).
However, in a city that imports murder victims via a river, has a mob presence like the Russian mob (which is far more deadly and brutal than the Italian mob or the Irish mob), and has a large, mobile victim pool, finding a serial killer is sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack. While other large cities have similar problems (Chicago has Lake Michigan, New York has the Hudson River, Los Angeles touches the Pacific Ocean and all of them have organized gangs), it is odd that the FBI and US Marshals both singled out Kansas City as a “problem city” for crime. The only other cities to get that distinction have been Las Vegas in the 1950s, Los Angeles in the 1960s, New York in the 1930s, Detroit in the 1990s, and Chicago in the last two decades. I didn’t denote a decade for Kansas City because the US Marshals Service has considered it a “problem city” since the late 1800s.
There is in fact a serial killer that works Interstate 70 that is believed to be a long haul trucker. Bodies with the same MO have been found in multiple states along that interstate, but surprisingly none have been found in Missouri where I-70 is the second most traveled interstate in the state. For the last decade, rumors have circulated that the FBI suspects the killer actually lives in Kansas City and that is why there has never been one of his bodies found in the state.
And Kansas City doesn’t just import victims, it seems to import serial killers as well. At least three captured serial killers have admitted to having victims in Kansas City, even though they never lived there and were just passing through. One very notorious serial killer eluded to the fact that he once checked the city out. Another infamous traveller also gave statements that led officials to believe that he did have victims in Kansas City.
The creepy, sordid, and odd history that goes into making Kansas City is why I have placed all my books there. However, I may do one in St. Louis, since it has it’s own weird history as well…