Mother’s Day will strike soon at the Samples household.

French toast in bed for Mom, pancakes for Bella. Much-needed rest and time away, both physically and mentally, from employment matters. Gifts of appreciation which don’t come close to expressing the love, respect and admiration I have for my wife and the mother of our child.

It’s going to be a great day. But I have been bothered by something quite unrelated to our family matters with Mother’s Day now just a short time away.

On Monday, word started trickling in about a homicide in Franklin County, Kan., roughly 50 miles away. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the case, even as the single death became three the next day. Ottawa is fairly close, but it’s out of KVOE’s coverage area — and with several things both on air and behind the scenes needing urgent attention, I moved on.

That changed Wednesday, when the person allegedly responsible for those killings and the presumed death of the 18-month-old daughter of one of the victims was discovered in Emporia. Suddenly, from a news perspective, this was of high interest locally.

As I was looking for background on the case, I also began looking for the relationships involved. It was sometime Thursday when I read the woman killed, Kaylie Bailey, effectively was drawn to bad boys, according to family and friends, and that was a key reason she and her toddler daughter, Lana, were at least in a position to be in harm’s way.

508lana leigh bailey
Lana-Leigh Bailey has been missing since before her mother, Kaylie Bailey, was found murdered in rural Franklin County. Photo courtesy WIBW-TV.

That’s when the case became personal. That’s what has been gnawing at my psyche ever since.

I’ve always taken my role as parent very seriously, which means I want not only the very best outcomes for my child but I want her to make the right choices in life to set up those outcomes. Who she hangs out with. What she listens to. Who she listens to. What she filters in — and what she filters out — from us and others about life matters specific and general.

The Franklin County triple homicide unnerves me to no end because, well, a parent can do his or her best to guide, cajole, push, pull, plead, threaten, beg, urge, encourage, demand, recommend.

In the end, it may matter to the child. It may not.

I can only imagine how painful Mother’s Day is going to be for Kaylie Bailey’s parents. I pray that Lana-Leigh Bailey is found alive, although that would be a first-class miracle at this stage of the case.

And I pray that when Bella turns 21, the age when Kaylie Bailey was murdered less than 50 miles away, we have done all we can to set up the best outcomes — and I pray for the strength to deal with the consequences if the results of her decisions are far worse.

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