Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsey says it's one of the saddest cases he's dealt with in his 28-year career. A 13-year-old girl died Saturday after being dragged for several miles by her family's stolen SUV, the Wichita Eagle reports. Police spokesman Charley Davidson says the girl was sitting in a passenger seat while it was parked outside a restaurant around noon with the engine running. Her family was inside getting food. Davidson says suspect Kevin Palmer got into the driver's seat and took off with the vehicle. The girl tried to get out of the moving vehicle, but she became caught in her seat belt, and Palmer "continued to flee for several miles," Davidson says.
After police, alerted by a citizen who witnessed the horrifying situation and called 911, intercepted the vehicle, Palmer tried to flee on foot but was arrested, police say. The 34-year-old, who has been convicted of several previous felonies, will now face charges including felony murder, KWCH reports. The police department "sends its thoughts and prayers to family, friends, and others affected by this tragic incident," the chief says. The AP reports that two similar cases in the Minneapolis area over the weekend had happier endings. A 1-year-old boy was found unharmed in an SUV that had been stolen and abandoned idling in a church parking lot, and a car with a 6-year-old girl inside was abandoned blocks away from the Walgreens parking lot where it had been stolen. (Read more Kansas stories.)