Researchers' Killer Later Died in Murder-Suicide: Prosecutors

Investigators had hoped Alexa would provide answers in Kansas City case
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2022 4:04 PM CDT
Updated Oct 27, 2022 5:45 PM CDT
After 2 Researchers Killed, Cops Seek Clues From Alexa
An Amazon Alexa device.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Update: Prosecutors in Kansas City said Thursday that the killer of two South American medical researchers has died in a murder-suicide. In a statement, officials said Kevin Ray Moore, 42, killed the two and then set their apartment on fire. Moore was found dead in a car near Worlds of Fun, a nearby amusement park, on Oct. 16 with Misty Brockman, 40, in what police called a murder-suicide. Investigators had hoped the Alexa device in the researchers' home would help identify the killer. There was no word on that Thursday, though officials said phone and computer data, surveillance videos, ballistic testing, and DNA were used to connect Moore to the researchers' deaths. Our original story from Oct. 5 follows:

Investigators in Kansas City, Missouri, are seeking Alexa's help. Two young medical researchers from South America were found dead early Saturday after reports of a fire at an apartment complex, and investigators have filed a search warrant for cloud storage from an Alexa device in the apartment, KSHB reports. Authorities say that when fire crews extinguished the blaze, they found Camila Behrensen, 24, and Pablo Guzman-Palma, 25, dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

According to the search warrant, investigators believe a suspect was in the apartment with the pair for several hours and said the Alexa device may have recorded conversations between the suspect and the victims. Police have not released information on a suspect or a possible motive. Behrensen, who was from Argentina, and Guzman-Palma, a Chilean citizen, worked at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research center, the AP reports. The center says both researchers were members of its 2020 predoctoral research class.

"We are devastated by the tragic deaths of two of our predoctoral researchers," the institute said in a statement, per the Kansas City Star. Classmates and faculty described Guzman-Palma as "a gentle soul with a true passion for science and biology" and Behrensen as a "brilliant young woman with a vibrant intellect who cared deeply for her work and her classmates," the institute said. "She dreamed of one day earning her postdoctoral degree and leading a research group by forming her own lab." Police say a $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

(Read more murder stories.)

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