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Arrest of Former Cop in Murder, Rape Cases Shocks Neighbors

HomicideBill Dickey

The arrest of former Grandview Police officer Jeffrey D. Moreland for two murders and a rape comes as a relief to those who knew the victims, but to those who know Moreland say that they are in shock over the charges.

Moreland is charged with murdering Nina Whitney, 75, on October 29, 2010.  Moreland is also charged with the murder of Cara Jo Roberts, 30, who was found shot to death in her bathroom on November 5. He is also charged with rape and forcible sodomy in connection to an attack on a woman in Cass County on June 30th.

He is now in the Cass County Jail in lieu of $1 million cash-only bond.

Neighbors say that Moreland was a family man who was involved with the community, and who always waved and smiled.

"The whole neighborhood has been completely shocked by this," said Bill Dickey, who lived across the street from the Moreland family for 15 years, and who says that knowing a police officer lived across the street gave him a sense of security. "(It) makes you wonder who you can trust because he just didn't seem like that type of person, always friendly, waved, didn't hide, wasn't secluded. He was with his family, with his kids."

A couple of weeks ago, police got a tip that Moreland looked a lot like the suspect in the murder of Whitney, who was known as "The Frog Lady" among her neighbors.

"We called her the frog lady because she had frogs in her yard and in her house," said Josh Simms, who knew Whitney and used to mow her lawn. He says that her murder shocked everyone, and news that a retired police officer is charged in her murder is surprising.

"I'm glad they finally caught him," said Simms.

Police say that DNA evidence links Moreland to the murders of Whitney and Roberts, along with the alleged rape which took place in Moreland's own home. Jerry Ketchum of Harrisonville knew Cara Jo Roberts, and says that he had to drive by her old house on Friday to see for himself.

"There's nothing you can do about something like," said Ketchum. "I'm sure glad they caught him."

Dickey says that he feels bad because there were fliers from the Roberts murder with the suspect's picture on them, but he never connected them to his neighbor.

"I never even thought of him being that type of character," said Dickey, who says that his heart goes out to Moreland's wife and kids. "The whole thing seems surreal. You look over there and realize a crime was committed."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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HomicideBill Dickey