Billboard Helps Nab Murder Suspect

Billboards catch our eye every day, inspiring consumers to buy whatever it is they're selling. But as Cynthia Bowers reports, one billboard did a lot more, helping a Kansas man capture his daughter's killer.

Up until the summer of 2002, Roger Kemp says his suburban Kansas City daughter was living the American Dream. But one day, Ali went to work and didn't come home.

Kemp says Ali was working a summer job at the neighborhood swimming pool; he thought it was the safest place in the world.

But not for her. Unbeknownst to Ali, police believe a maniac had her in his sights. She was jumped in the pool house, sexually assaulted and strangled. Ali's dad found her battered body.

Since then his life has been about one thing: avenging his daughter's death. "You can't do this to a member of my family and get away," says Kemp. "And it's very simple. It's about justice and I was gonna get the guy. And I was gonna do anything I could to get him."

But cracking the case wouldn't be easy: all police had to go on was a composite sketch. The killer's identity was a mystery. Months passed with no arrest, but Kemp never gave up.

"I got out of bed ever day thinking this might be the day," Kemp recalls.

Kemp knew his only chance would be to get this guy's picture out in front of more people.

"He came to us and wanted to buy billboards," recalls Brian Henry, creative director at Lamar Outdoor Advertising.

Henry says he wasn't sure the campaign would work. "We know it works for products - if you're selling tires or batteries or things like that. But we're putting people's pictures up there," he says.

Although Henry was skeptical, he was bought into Kemp's passion and Lamar Outdoor Advertising decided to donate not just on one billboard but three, strategically placed along busy highways.
  • Daniel Schorn

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