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Kansas City man charged with murder of woman whose body was left near railroad tracks


Jackson County prosecutors have charged a Kansas City man with murder in the killing of a woman whose body was found in a wooded area near railroad tracks in March 2022.

Richard Z. Holliday, 39, who has been serving a two-year federal prison sentence in Kentucky, is accused of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Sheryl Turley, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

He is also accused of unlawful possession of a weapon by a dangerous felon. An arrest warrant issued Monday calls for Holliday to be held in the county jail on a $250,000 cash bond.

A suspicious death investigation was opened March 1, 2022, when a railroad employee reported finding a body near the intersection of East 91st Street and Old Santa Fe Road in Kansas City’s Loma Vista neighborhood. Police later identified the person as Turley and said her death was a homicide.

Detectives spoke with a witness who told them Holliday had borrowed a white sedan two days earlier and not returned it. Neither Turley nor Holliday could be reached afterward, the witness told police.

Surveillance cameras captured footage of a vehicle matching that description on Feb. 28, 2022, near the area where Turley’s body was found. License-plate-reading cameras also spotted the borrowed white sedan near the area, according to an affidavit prepared by a Kansas City police detective.

Around the same time, police officers were called to a series of incidents involving a prowler that unfolded within a span of a few minutes at a series of Kansas City residences. In one case, a man identified by police as Holliday forced his way into a home, armed with a gun, and fought with residents for a set of car keys.

Another report led to the discovery of the missing white sedan. It had been abandoned in a nearby Kansas City driveway and a resident of the home called police.

The car was towed away and later searched. Inside, investigators located identification cards and paperwork for Holliday and Turley.

Detectives were contacted by witnesses who said they had picked up Holliday on the night of the robbery. They said he was covered in mud and appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamines. They contacted his federal probation officer, according to court documents, and organized his surrender because there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Records show Holliday and Turley both were charged in a 2015 federal indictment alleging three counts of bank robbery for offenses in the Kansas City and Joplin areas.

In that case, Turley pleaded guilty to bank robbery and Holliday pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge. Both were on supervised release from prison when Turley was found dead.

After Holliday was back in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, a witness contacted detectives again to provide the location of a firearm he had found and then thrown in the Little Blue River. It was located by the Missouri Highway Patrol and tested; authorities allege the gun matched to shell casings collected during their investigation.

In March 2022, a federal judge ordered Holliday to serve two years in prison for violating the conditions of his supervised release from prison. He was sent to the Big Sandy facility in eastern Kentucky.

In August, a Kansas City homicide detective visited Big Sandy to speak with Holliday, who immediately requested a lawyer, according to the affidavit filed Monday. A DNA sample was collected from Holliday.

Turley appeared to have been dragged across gravel before her body was located. Authorities allege the DNA samples collected from her ankles likely came from Holliday and two unknown contributors, according to court documents.

Online court records did not list a defense attorney representing Holliday in the murder case as of Tuesday.