The family of an Independence woman who was found Tuesday knifed to death in her house remembers her as a loving, generous person who would never hurt anybody, and they are grateful the case appears to have been solved quickly.
Louise Dickey, 63, was found in her house in the 10400 block of East 27th Street, near the former Rockwood Golf Club, by her daughter. Miranda Rice had been notified by neighbors concerned that Dickey's car had been missing from her driveway all day Tuesday, and when she arrived at her mother's house about 5:30 p.m., she found her mother’s body in the bathtub.
Following a rapid investigation, police arrested 26-year-old Cory King of Kansas City later that night at a motel on Missouri 350 Highway near the Kansas City-Raytown border, and on Thursday Jackson County prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Court documents say he admitted to killing Dickey shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday using two different knives. They had argued because she wouldn't let him sleep on her couch since he was under the influence of multiple drugs.
Prosecutors have requested a $500,000 cash bond.
Rice talked about her mother Thursday afternoon in Rotary Park, accompanied by her husband Matthew and grandmother – Dickey's 88-year-old mother Vivian Bruner. The park, a few blocks from the murder scene but also next to her former school (Korte Elementary), is a source of happy memories for her, she said.
“I want to thank police and investigators for all the hours they put in to find out who did this to my mom,” Rice said.
Dickey lived alone and was on disability due to osteoporosis that resulted in her having a metal hip and shoulder and a fused elbow, so Rice was over at the house regularly to help.
“I took care of her on a weekly basis – helped her with changing litter boxes, taking baths, things like that,” Rice said. “She loved cats – she had three of them – she'd call herself a cat lady all the time. She loved my birds; she called them her grandbirds.”
Dickey also loved to sing and would do so just about anywhere she went, Rice said. Her favorite singer was Bonnie Raitt.
“I was able to help her meet Bonnie Raitt one time, and I'll never forget that,” Rice said. “She loved the Royals, so she was of course very excited when they won.”
Bruner remembers going to lunch with her daughter regularly, and then her daughter would always be willing to take care of any needed errands. Her faith has helped her during this difficult time, she said.
“My daughter was so special; she was so generous, so helpful” Bruner said. “I feel the prayers that support us.”
Rice said Dickey had lived at her house a couple years and mostly kept to herself. She had known King about a year, as he is related to a neighbor, and King would occasionally help with a chore at Dickey's house. Rice only recalled meeting him once.
Here is what Independence police say took place, according to court documents:
Dickey and King had gone to a nearby Walgreens and Dollar General late Monday afternoon. At her house King and Dickey argued about him sleeping on her couch because he was under the influence of marijuana and Xanax. Eventually, King told police, he found a box cutter, grabbed her from behind and slit her throat, then cut her a second time when she put her hands around her neck. He then carried her into the bathroom, placed her in the tub and stabbed her several more times in the chest using a fixed-blade knife.
King then emptied Dickey's purse in the living room and took her car keys, debit card and some cash and prescription pill bottles. He also took her cell phone and then drove away in her car and tried unsuccessfully to use the debit card at the Country Grocery convenience store at Truman and River roads. He then used the phone to call a friend and left Dickey's stolen car at the store when the friend came to pick him up.
About an hour after Dickey was found dead, police found the car at the store and noted the man later identified as King when they reviewed the video surveillance footage. Police soon tracked King to the motel.
“I talked to her at 5:30 p.m. Monday; that was my last conversation with her,” Rice said. “She was at home. She had messaged me on Facebook and said she couldn't find her phone – she was always misplacing it – and then she found it. I said 'I love you,' and she said, 'I love you more.'”
“I'm really hoping (Rice) is able to sleep a little better tonight,” her husband Matthew said, “even though it's not all over.”