Kansas teen death ‘undetermined,’ family seeking answers

Kansas

EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNT) — The family of a Butler County teenager is pleading for answers more than one year after their son’s death. At first, 14-year-old Kaiden Smith’s death was reported as a possible suicide, but now, police call it “undetermined.” However, there are still questions and confusion about what happened.

Nick Smith, Kaiden’s father, feels like he never got any closure.

“Won’t get to hear him laugh again, married, graduate,” Smith said.

Kaiden died from a gunshot wound on April 29, 2020.

“Just want to know what happened to my boy,” Smith said. “I think that’s reasonable because it ain’t something nobody wants to live with not knowing what happened.”

KSN Investigates obtained a “Call for Service Report” from the day of the shooting. It shows a call to 911 at 2:25 p.m. from 704 S. Star Street in El Dorado. The caller said he “believes his friend shot himself.” Kaiden Smith later died at the hospital.

In a news release posted August 11 on Facebook, the El Dorado Police Department said officers discovered juveniles burglarized an abandoned house at South Star and Carr Avenue, where someone left firearms and ammunition. Police said the gun used in this shooting is one of the guns someone stole from the house. Both the abandoned house and the house where the shooting took place next door, are no longer here.

KSN News requested an on-camera interview with El Dorado police, but the department declined.

In a news release earlier this month, El Dorado police said Kaiden’s death was ruled “undetermined” based on information from the Sedgwick County Medical Examiner, and tips from the public.

“Once we started sending them some of the social media stuff that was being said, they took a different look at it,” Kaiden’s father said. He believes social media played a role in his son’s case.

In its news release, the El Dorado Police Department statement says, “investigators have continuously followed up leads provided by the community and have received assistance from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. This case has remained open since the shooting has occurred as it has yet to be resolved.”

Crime Stoppers offers a $1,000 reward to anyone who has information that could help officers determine what happened.

“I’m a little more hopeful,” Smith said. “The only thing is it took 15 months, so how much did we miss in that 15 to 16 months?”

When KSN News first spoke with Kaiden’s father in February, he showed us some of the evidence from the shooting that he said officers gave back to them in 2020. It included his son’s backpack, and the cap, the family believes, Kaiden was wearing on the day he died.

KSN Investigates asked Kaiden’s father if police requested this same evidence again.

“Yes, they have asked to take a look at it, and we gave them the hat over to the medical examiner, some things to the police officers,” he said.

KSN also asked Smith what his message is for anyone who potentially knows any information about his son’s case.

“Tell law enforcement immediately,” he said. “Tell any officer, get the ball rolling here because people are talking. We just got to weed through the crap and find the truth.”

If you have any information about this case, leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 316-321-1080, or there’s a website where you can leave information about the case.

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