May 16, 2020 10:00 PM

Coronavirus cases linked to group event at Kan. lake

Posted May 16, 2020 10:00 PM

SHAWNEE COUNTY — Health Department authorities are investigating several cases of COVID-19 linked to one or more group events that took place in May at Lake Perry.

At least 10 people from multiple counties and two states who participated in the event(s) were confirmed as infected, according to Amanda Monhollon with the Shawnee County Health Department.

At least two additional people were infected as a result of having come in contact with the people who gathered at the lake. Over 20 people have been placed on quarantine as a result of having been exposed to the virus through some of the people who attended the lake event.

It appears that the gatherings at the lake violated the statewide stay-at-home order that was in place at that time, according to Monhollon.

During the investigation, the Shawnee County Health Department was able to unveil a link between some of the people infected at the lake and a recruit officer at the Topeka Police Department Recruit Academy Class who tested positive for the virus and who did not participate at any gatherings at Lake Perry. 

The Topeka Police Department was notified Friday afternoon that the recruit officers tested positive for COVID-19, according to police spokesperson Gretchen Koenen.

The recruit officer first felt ill over the weekend and immediately quarantined themselves at home. The recruit officer has not returned to work since feeling ill.

The presence of the infected recruit forced the academy to shut down temporarily. All the recruits have been placed on quarantine.

The Shawnee County Health Department urges anyone who visited the public areas (including restrooms) at Lake Perry between May 2 and May 10 who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 disease to contact their health care provider and alert them that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever of 100.4 F or higher, chills rigors, myalgia (muscle pain or aches), malaise, headache sore throat, lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing),  new olfactory and taste disorders and diarrhea.

“This is a strong reminder of how easy it is to be infected by this virus”, said Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer. “It is also an example of how disregarding the orders of public health authorities may result in a cascade of events leading to large disruptions and exposure to the virus for multiple people.”

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May 16, 2020 10:00 PM
Police: Man used sawed-off shotgun in Kan. woman's murder

Pankratz was released from prison in April, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections. He has previous convictions for robbery, aggravated assault, theft, and burglary.

SEDGWICK COUNTY — A Kansas man released from prison in April has been charged in the death of a 36-year-old woman at a home in Wichita on May 10.

Isaac Pankratz made his first court appearance in the case Thursday, according to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office. He was charged with murder, criminal possession and use of a firearm and remains jailed on a $200,000 bond, according to online jail records.

Just after 9:30a.m. May 10, police responded to call at a home in the 4900 block of East Murdock in Wichita, according to officer Charley Davidson.

At the home, police located 36-year-old Sarah Phillips of Wichita unresponsive with trauma to her head.  She was pronounced deceased on the scene. 

Later in the day, investigators contacted 27-year-old  Isaac Pankratz at a home in the 2500 block of West Wildwood regarding the investigation.  He was arrested after being found in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.  The gun was recovered.

Through further investigation, it was learned the incident was a criminal homicide and that Pankratz and Phillips were both at the home on Murdock when he fired the shotgun, striking her and causing fatal injuries, according to Davidson.  Pankratz then fled the scene. 

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SEDGWICK COUNTY —Law enforcement authorities are investigating a fatal shooting and have a suspect in custody.

Just after 9:30a.m. Sunday, police responded to call at a home in the 4900 block of East Murdock in Wichita, according to officer Charley Davidson.

At the home, police located 36-year-old Sarah Phillips of Wichita unresponsive with trauma to her head.  She was pronounced deceased on the scene. 

On Sunday, investigators contacted 27-year-old  Isaac Pankratz at a home in the 2500 block of West Wildwood regarding the investigation.  He was arrested after being found in possession of a sawed-off shotgun.  The gun was recovered.

Through further investigation, it was learned the incident was a criminal homicide and that Pankratz and Phillips were both at the home on Murdock when he fired the shotgun, striking her and causing fatal injuries, according to Davidson.  Pankratz then fled the scene. 

Pankratz booking photo from Sedgwick County

This was not a random incident as Pankratz and Phillips are known to each other. Pankratz is being held on a charge of 1st-degree murder, according to Davidson.

He has been arrested and convicted of charges that include robbery, aggravated assault, theft, and burglary.

The case will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.