Crime scene tape surrounds the property at 2660 Shipton Rd. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 where the body of Kandi Sprague was found. Sprague was reported missing on July 22 and her husband Davin Sprague has been arrested and charged with first degree murder. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal) | Buy Journal Photos


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Crime scene tape surrounds the property at 2660 Shipton Rd. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 where the body of Kandi Sprague was found. Sprague was reported missing on July 22 and her husband Davin Sprague has been arrested and charged with first degree murder. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal)

Press conference for first-degree murder arrest

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Man charged in wife’s murder

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

The body of a Saline County woman who had recently been reported missing was found Monday morning on the two-acre property where she and her husband had lived, and her husband was arrested.

Davin R. Sprague, 36, 2660 E. Shipton, was arrested on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder. He was booked into Saline County Jail at 11:33 p.m. Monday and is scheduled to make a first appearance at 8:30 a.m. today in Saline County District Court.

Kandi L. Sprague, 28, had been reported missing July 29 by a family member who had not had contact with her since about July 23, said Saline County Undersheriff Dave Dunstan. The family member who reported her missing was not her husband.

Dunstan said the investigation of Kandi Sprague’s death led to the arrest of her husband. He would not comment on whether Davin Sprague had confessed to the crime.

As part of the investigation of the missing-person report, the Saline County Sheriff’s Office acquired a warrant to search the couple’s property in rural northeast Saline County. The property had been owned by the Sprague family for several generations and included pasture as well as a wooded area.

Kandi Sprague’s body was discovered mid-morning Monday, Dunstan said. He would not describe the location of the body or comment on whether it was concealed in any way.

He said the body appeared to have been at the location for some time, although the time and cause of her death had not been determined. Dunstan would not comment on whether a weapon had been discovered.

An autopsy was being performed Tuesday afternoon, Dunstan said.

“This was a normal missing person (case) up to yesterday morning,” Dunstan said.

He said missing person reports are not uncommon, and 99 percent of the time the person who has been reported missing shows up again unharmed.

Officers were still processing the crime scene Tuesday. The sheriff’s office is being assisted in the investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Saline County Attorney’s Office, Dunstan said.

Dunstan said he could not comment on whether there had been a previous history of law enforcement being called to the residence.

Saline County District Court records show that Sprague was sent to prison in June 2001 to serve sentences for a March 1997 burglary of his stepfather’s house and February 1997 traffic violations.

Sprague had been placed on probation for two years as a result of those convictions, but his record showed 17 probation violations — including two occasions when he left the state and had to be brought back to Kansas from as far away as Florida — before he was sent to prison. He was discharged in September 2003.

A neighbor on Shipton Road, Darrell Lamer, said he felt badly for the couple’s three elementary school-aged children, who have been left without parents.

“That’s the really tragic part is the children don’t have anybody now,” he said. “I feel very, very sorry that the children have to suffer.”

He said law enforcement officers have been in the area interviewing neighbors. He also saw officers searching a barn, and a small white airplane circled the property for several hours Saturday. Lamer said he wished law enforcement had apprised neighbors of the situation sooner.

“You’ve got to let the neighbors know what’s going on,” he said, adding that he feared for his own wife’s safety as she exercised on Shipton Road before Sprague was taken into custody.

Lamer said the family had lived at the Shipton Road home for about three years. Davin Sprague had grown up there, he said. Before he moved back with his family, his father, David Sprague, had lived there, and before that his grandfather, Paul Sprague.

Lamer said the area, which includes about six homes within a half mile of each other, was a quiet, close-knit neighborhood before the Spragues moved back.

“They had a different way of living than I do, but still they were a family,” Lamer said. “There was probably a time in my life that I did that kind of thing.”

Neighbors had to ask Davin Sprague to turn down the music or quit riding the motorcycle after 10 p.m., Lamer said. Still, Lamer said he never imagined what authorities allege occurred could happen.

“Out here, everybody looks after everybody’s property,” he said. “We’re very close neighbors — except the Spragues. They were off in their own little world.”

He said the Sprague family did not have a telephone, and in the past, Davin Sprague had made calls from his house — but not recently.

“It’s pretty scary when something like this happens this close to you,” he said. “You ask yourself where do you go to be safe any more?”

He said on various occasions when he has been out walking on Shipton Road, he has seen Davin Sprague sitting on the porch with the children or barbecuing supper, and he wanted to believe the family was doing well.

“You don’t think your neighbor is capable of killing his wife,” he said. “When something like this happens, a red flag goes up, and you realize you don’t know them as well as you think.”

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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