Suspect in homicide case takes authorities on vehicle chase that ends in Basehor
Lawrence police on Wednesday afternoon arrested a suspect in connection with a fatal stabbing Monday in Lawrence.
Police arrested 33-year-old Joshua Lee Back, of Jefferson County, Wednesday after the man “ran from a residence” in Jefferson County and “left the area in a stolen vehicle,” Lawrence police spokeswoman Kim Murphree said. Police also on Wednesday announced the name of the victim as Tracy Dean Lautenschlager, 45, of Lawrence.
Emergency workers on Monday responded to a call just after 6 a.m. of a man, now identified to be Lautenschlager, bleeding outside the McDonald’s at 1309 W. Sixth St. After medics took the man to the hospital, police followed a blood trail back to a home at 700 Arkansas St., Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said Monday.
Police investigators remained at the home Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, yellow crime scene tape had been removed and no officers were seen in the area.
On Wednesday, Back led Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a pursuit, but they “lost sight of him northwest of McLouth,” Murphree said. Back was again found in Basehor shortly thereafter, and Basehor police and Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office deputies chased after him.
Police identified Back as a suspect after investigating leads in the case, Murphree said.
Murphree said that Back eventually “voluntarily came to a stop outside Basehor near 158th Street and State Avenue,” where he was arrested “without incident.”
Back was to be transferred into the custody of Lawrence detectives and booked into the Douglas County Jail later Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree murder and felony theft, Murphree said.
Lautenschlager had worked as an election judge, or poll worker, for Douglas County since 2012, according to county payroll records. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Wednesday that the office staff “expressed some surprise” over the news of Lautenschlager’s untimely death. Shew said that though county poll workers receive stipends, he refers to them as volunteers because “people do it because they have a sense of civic duty.”
“We are a large county, but know our volunteers,” Shew said. “We work pretty closely with them, so you get to know them pretty well.”
Shew said that in addition to helping out at the polls, Lautenschlager “helped with some other election duties,” running errands and taking on other responsibilities.
“He was a person who was willing to go the extra mile and do what needed to be done,” Shew said.
Lautenschlager’s family could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509 or CrimeStoppers at 785-843-TIPS(8477). Calls made to CrimeStoppers can be made anonymously. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by CrimeStoppers.
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