Kelsey Smith Remembered: 5 Facts About The 2007 Teen Murder That Made Legal History

Kelsey Smith Foundation/Facebook page

The 2007 abduction and murder of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith is a horrific tragedy that ultimately led to a triumph for crime victims that has since saved numerous lives.

As the 10th anniversary of the world losing Kelsey Smith approaches, here are five facts about the case, including how Kelsey’s legacy lives on as a positive empowerment for crime prevention.

1. KELSEY SMITH WAS ABDUCTED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
On June 2, 2007, Kelsey Smith exited a Target department store in Overland Park, Kansas, after purchasing a few gifts for her boyfriend of six months. Someone forced Kelsey inside her own vehicle, a 1990 Ford Crown Victoria.

Four hours later, the car turned up unoccupied in a Macy’s parking lot across the street. Her purse, wallet, and the items she purchased remained inside the car.

A massive gathering of volunteers nicknamed “Kelsey’s Army” assisted authorities with the search — scouring the area, distributing fliers, and working every possible angle. They would get a huge help from the stores’ surveillance cameras.

Related: Missing 15-Year-Old Girl’s Rape and Murder Captured on Cell Phone Audio

2. THE KILLER TURNED UP ON OLD-FASHIONED SECURITY CAMERAS
Experts analyzed security footage from both Target and Macy’s, and got a clear shot of a male person of interest, along with his Chevy pickup. Police released images of the figure, and a local man joked that it looked like his neighbor, Edwin Roy “Jack” Hall.

When the quipster saw that the truck involved was Hall’s, he turned serious and called the cops.

3. THE POLICE FOUND KELSEY’S BODY USING NEW CELL-PHONE TECHNOLOGY
Tragically, the hunt for Kelsey Smith ended four days after it began, when her body turned up in a woodsy patch across state lines in Missouri, about 20 miles from where she’d been abducted.

Investigators noticed that a ping had come from Kelsey’s cell phone June 2. They contacted Verizon Wireless to get Kelsey’s phone records in order to pinpoint her exact location. Verizon, citing unprecedented privacy issues, resisted handing over the information. The FBI stepped in and got the records.

Finally, then, on June 6, a Verizon technician identified a cell-phone tower near the ping and told searchers to look 1.1 miles north of there. Forty-five minutes later, Kelsey’s remains were discovered and identified.

Related: Man Arrested After Filming Fatal Car Crash With His Cell Phone, But Failing to Help Trapped Teen Victims

4. KELSEY’S KILLER HAD A HORRIBLE HISTORY, BUT HAD NEVER KILLED

At the time he kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and fatally strangled Kelsey Smith, 26-year-old Jack Hall was married and had a four-year-old son. He had never been arrested as an adult.

Hall grew up with violent, alcoholic parents and suffered sexual abuse routinely by his own family members while still a toddler. He went into the state system at age seven and got booted out at 15 after threatening his foster sister with a knife. He went on to be arrested twice for assault as a juvenile.

After being arrested for Kelsey’s murder, Hall pleaded guilty in exchange for not getting the death penalty. He cried and begged forgiveness from Kelsey’s family in court. A judge sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.

Related: Listen To Suspect’s Voice In Eerie Recording Made By Snapchat Murder Girls

5. “THE KELSEY SMITH ACT” HAS SAVED LIVES, BUT IT SPARKS PRIVACY DEBATES

In light of Verizon Wireless taking four days to surrender Kelsey Smith’s phone information to investigators, multiple states have passed “The Kelsey Smith Act” — a law that requires cell-phone service providers to “ping” a subscriber’s phone if authorities believe that the phone holder is in danger.

Congress has debated ratifying The Kelsey Smith Act as federal law for years. Most recently, in May 2016, the House of Representatives voted against the act, opting to leave it up to individual states.

The ACLU has taken spoken out against the law on privacy grounds, stating that it opens up too much leeway for the government to demand personal cell-phone records.

Kansas has enacted the law and, authorities say that in 2015, they used the Kelsey Smith Act to locate a car that had been stolen with a five-month-old baby in the backseat. The child was quickly found and returned home safely.

On that occasion, Greg Smith, Kelsey’s father, noted: “Those are big, emotional things. Our baby’s not here, but someone else’s is because our baby’s not here.”

Watch the Investigation Discovery episode Kelsey Smith: Gone in an Instant on Sunday, March 19, at 2 P.M. or with ID GO.

Read more:

Investigation Discovery
Kansas City Star
Michigan Patch
KMBC
Kelsey’s Law Facebook Group
The Kelsey Smith Foundation

Main photo: Kelsey Smith Foundation/Facebook page

  • Mazikeen666

    They should approved Kelsy Smith act all around the state, city world,we need to
    Be safe not let it happen again,my heart goes out to the family and friends 😢

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  • Mazikeen666

    Why they didn’t mention why he killed her ?his motive

    • Destiny

      This was a sexually motivated crime. Kelsey was raped and sodomized before she was strangled to death.

  • Chad Carroll

    I watch ID constantly and have seen many things in this area of life, but the Kelsey Smith case ALWAYS hits me so hard. I don’t have any tragedy in my life or prior, but this case is just different for some reason. Watching her impending death unfold on camera basically is devastating. Every time I see that Edwin guy I wanna have him raped beat and murdered for what he did!! He deserves to die for what he did. He raped that girl in every hole in her body like the despicable animal he is and that’s why I want him dead!! HATE HATE HATE!!