Youth Pastor Attempts To Kill 5 Kids & Wife Before Burning House Down
The Chilling Accusation
According to the Shawnee Police Department, on September 16, firefighters and police officers arrived at Richards' residence on Goode Drive at approximately 3:47 a.m. This was in response to alarming reports of a disturbance paired with a fire. On inspection, a fire was identified in the basement and promptly doused by the responding firefighters.
Subsequent investigations painted a horrifying scene. All members of the family, including Richards’ wife, Stephanie, their 19-year-old child, and four younger children, sustained laceration injuries, with the police noting the injuries were of "varying degrees." In connection with this, Richards now stands charged with five counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and an additional count of aggravated arson with the risk of causing bodily harm.
Both Richards and the injured family members were quickly transported to a nearby hospital for emergency medical treatment.
Richards: The Man Behind the Accusation
Richards, a key figure at the Crossroads Christian Church since August 2016, is described on the church's website as “a big kid who loves teaching little kids about Jesus.” The biography goes on to provide insights into his personal life, highlighting his marriage with Stephanie since 2003 and their five children. They uphold three cardinal family rules: 1. Love God, 2. Love People, and 3. Love Sports, with particular affection for the Jayhawks and Sporting KC.
However, in the wake of these serious allegations, there's a palpable dissonance between the family-oriented, religious figure depicted in his biography and the grim charges he currently faces.
Church's Response to the Incident
The gravity of the situation did not go unnoticed by the senior leadership of Crossroads Christian Church. Senior Pastor Kurt Witten took to an official platform on the very day of the incident, stating, "We are aware of the situation involving our Children’s Pastor, Matt Richards." He further noted the church's intention to gather more information and assured the congregation and community of a comprehensive statement in due course. Pastor Witten urged for respect considering the ongoing nature of the investigation and solicited prayers for the beleaguered Richards family.
Authorities remain committed to piecing together the exact sequence of events leading up to that fateful morning. As the investigation delves deeper, Richards is held on a $5 million bond, reflecting the severity of the accusations against him.
The unfolding of these events has understandably left the Shawnee community in a state of shock. Such incidents remind us that appearances can be deceptive, and even the most unsuspecting individuals can harbor dark secrets. As the investigation progresses, the community and the church await clarity on this tragic incident, hoping for justice and healing for all those involved.
In these testing times, Shawnee unites, with many focusing on supporting the Richards family and praying for their speedy recovery. It remains essential to respect the ongoing investigation, allowing authorities to carry out their duties in the pursuit of the truth.
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