WaKEENEY A man wanted in connection with a homicide in Vermont died early Wednesday evening of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased for several miles by troopers from the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Details are still emerging in the incident, but Vermont authorities said circumstances surrounding the vehicle the man was driving suggests the man was Jason Kendall, 27, Windsor, Vt. He was being sought in connection with the shooting death of his former girlfriend, Molly Helland, 22.
Vermont State Police spokesman Scott Waterman this morning said they are awaiting positive identification through an autopsy.
We think it may have been, based on circumstances surrounding the car, Waterman said of Vermont police thinking the occupant might have been Kendall. Were still waiting on autopsy confirmation.
The connecting link with Vermont is a Massachusetts license tag that was on the 1996 Honda that KHP troopers attempted to stop Wednesday. Authorities in Vermont had believed Kendall recently changed the license plates on his 1996 Honda from those issued in Vermont to one from Massachusetts.
In a statement released late Wednesday by KHP spokesman trooper Tod Hileman, troopers attempted to stop the Honda bearing what was believed to be stolen Massachusetts license tags on it just west of Ellis in Trego County.
But as troopers attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver refused to stop and took off at speeds reaching 105 mph.
The chase ended, however, after the KHP successfully deployed stop sticks.
The vehicle believed to have been driven by Kendall, after hitting the stop sticks, went through the median, across the eastbound lanes and into the south ditch and through a fence.
As troopers approached the vehicle, Hileman said, they found the driver inside with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Medical personnel arriving on the scene declared the man dead.
The chase ended about 11 miles west of where it first started.
The incident that started the whole search for the stolen license tags came about at 7 a.m. Monday, when the Windsor Police Department responded to a 911 call to the report of screams and gun shots.
Responding officers found a female suffering from gunshot wounds outside a Windsor residence next to a vehicle.
Early in the investigation, Vermont police learned Helland the victim had recently ended a relationship with her then-boyfriend Kendall, with whom she had a child.
The car Kendall was reportedly driving in Vermont as well as in Kansas was seen leaving the area where Helland was found.