The Ali Kemp Case: Her Father Solved Her Murder With A Billboard
[Kansas City, Kansas]
Ali Kemp (19) took up a summer job working as a pool attendant at a pool in her neighborhood.
This job was comforting to her because her younger brother worked there as well. On June 18th, 2002, she showed up for one of her typical shifts. Her brother planned to cover the next shift. However, when he came to take over the work, he couldn’t find Ali. As his anxiety increased, he called their father, Roger, to help look for her.
When Roger arrived, he first checked the deep end in case she accidentally drowned. Then he searched the maintenance room. Tragically, he found Ali’s body laying face down under a blue tarp. She had been brutally beaten and strangled to death. It was clear Ali made a great attempt to fight for her life. Her flip flops were located in different areas as if they had flown off. Her fingernails were broken and there was obvious blood splatter.
The investigation revealed that Ali invited her friend, Laurel, to stop by around 3:00pm to visit her. When Laurel arrived that day, she honked her horn to notify Ali that she was there, but Ali never came out. Oddly, a male wandered out of the maintenance room and waved at Laurel. Trusting her instincts, she felt uncomfortable and drove away before he could approach her. Despite Laurel most likely seeing her killer and the release of a detailed composite sketch, Ali’s case went cold.
Roger Kemp was desperate to reach justice for his daughter so he released a 50,000 dollar reward for information connected to Ali’s murder. He also got the bright idea to display a billboard of the composite sketch for drivers to see as they drove on the highway.
The billboard reached many eyes which then traveled to many ears. Eventually, police got a tip about the pool maintenance man at that particular pool, Teddy Hoover — who was actually named Benjamin Appleby.
When authorities tried to obtain his DNA, he refused, obtained a lawyer, and fled to Connecticut. In 2004, police tracked him down and determined he had a warrant for public exposure. The warrant gave them probable cause to arrest him.
After his arrest, he broke down and confessed to his actions on that hot summer day. According to him, he tried to flirt with Ali and followed her into the maintenance room. Ali wasn’t interested in his advances at all and tried to leave, but was blocked by him. At that point, she allegedly punched him which caused his anger to boil over. Teddy beat, strangled, and stripped her of her clothes.
He was charged with capital murder and attempted rape. The sentence was a mandatory 50 years before being able to face parole. He tried to appeal his sentence, but it was denied.