(EUREKA, Kan.) — Update, Wednesday afternoon: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today issued an executive order authorizing a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of fugitive Kevin Robert Welsh.
“I encourage anyone with knowledge of this crime or the suspect to immediately contact the Greenwood County Sheriff’s office or the KBI,” Governor Brownback said in a release.
The reward was authorized at the request of the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Attorney General’s office. Anyone with information relating to this crime should immediately contact the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office at 620-583-5568 or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-KSCRIME.
As a community mourns the deaths of two Greenwood County employees, county deputies work around the clock to find the person they believe is responsible for their murders. "Our heart was hit, it took a direct hit because they were awesome people," said resident Bonnie Thornburg.
Wednesday marks one week since the shootings in Eureka took the lives of Shiela and Keith Kriesel and injured their daugther Catherine Scheff. The town remains on high alert. "The doors are staying locked," said resident Vickie Sparks.
As people in Eureka try to go on with life like normal, they are distracted by a man no one can seem to find. "You never know where he's going to pop up," said resident Audie Thornburg.
"He's on a mission and I don't think he's going to give up," said Bonnie Thornburg.
While the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office and other agencies continue to follow leads, this week the streets of Eureka have been quieter. "I think they're still looking but it was kind of comforting to know that we had as many police officers around as we did," said Sparks.
The manhunt for suspect Kevin Welsh started with armed officers around the county and sirens screaming through town. Six days later, Welsh remains on the loose and some residents feel unsafe in their own homes. "Like this morning when my son left, my daughter-in-law came down stairs and locked the door behind him when he went to work. That's unusual," said Sparks.
Some, like Audie Thornburg, worry about working alone in the rural parts of Greenwood County. "I went and bought a handgun and carry it with me when I'm working out in the county. So, I just feel a little more protected," he said.
"Everybody is still very on edge. Just waiting for him to get caught. Waiting for him to make a mistake so he can get caught," said Bonnie Thornburg.
Until he is caught, many say life in Eureka will stand still. "Every night we just pray Lord, please let it end."
Catherine Scheff, who was injured in the shootings, remains in the hospital.
A funeral is scheduled for her mother Sheila Kriesel and step-father Keith Kriesel on Saturday. It will be held at Eureka Junior/ Senior High School at 2:00 p.m.
Visitation hours are Friday from 5 - 7 p.m.at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Sheila and Keith Kalen Kriesel Family Benefit Fund.