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Who Killed Kelcey Fike? Unsolved Murder in Kearney, Nebraska

I am passionate about missing persons cases due to a personal family experience of having someone go missing in my family.

Kelcey Fike was killed in 2008. Her murder is unsolved.

Kelcey Fike was killed in 2008. Her murder is unsolved.

Background on Kelcey Fike

Kelcey Renae Fike was born on March 26, 1987 to Randy and Mary Jo Fike in Wisconsin. She met her best friend, Jami Graham, in kindergarten, and they became inseparable and grew up doing everything together.

They attended Monroe High School, where Kelcey was described as a shy, introverted girl who was also a silly free spirit around people she knew well. She would sing and dance and had a good sense of humor. Everybody loved her. After the pair graduated, Jami went to a school-to-work program while Kelcey commuted to Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois.

Kelcey's Time in Kearney, NE

In the summer of 2006, Kelcey’s parents decided to move to Nebraska to be closer to Mary Jo’s parents in Omaha. Kelcey moved with her parents to Kearney, and her mother got a job working for CHI Health Good Samaritan. Kelcey and Jami talked on the phone daily after she moved and took many trips to see one another. On one trip when Jami went to see Kelcey, Kelcey got a tattoo of a gold koi fish on her back in tribute to their favorite band, Sublime.

Kelcey met a young man named Alex Young who was a reserve member in the Nebraska Army National Guard. The two moved into a trailer to save up for a home later on. The trailer park was tucked away behind two businesses and was hard to find if you didn’t already know where it was. After a year of being together, Alex gave Kelcey a diamond promise ring and vowed to always be there for her and to take care of her. The couple had a basset hound named Dante who was extremely protective and possessive of Kelcey.

The Night Before the Murder

The night before Kelcey was murdered in 2008, she called Jami to talk about her upcoming trip to Wisconsin. Jami was watching a movie with her boyfriend at the time, so she let it go to voicemail—something she regrets to this day. The voicemail left by Kelcey says, “Four more days, woohoo! Love you, dude. Talk to you later.” The trip was to celebrate Jami’s 21st birthday on June 22nd.

Kelcey was alone in the trailer that day because Alex was out of state in Louisiana doing training with the National Guard. Normally, Kelcey would stay with her parents during these training days as she didn’t like to be alone, but this night was different. She was packing and planning for the trip to go see her best friend.

Jami Graham and Kelcey Fike

Jami Graham and Kelcey Fike

The Incident

The day before she was killed, Kelcey got home from work around 5:30 p.m., and neighbors later saw her walking her basset hound, Dante, around 9 p.m. Kelcey sent a text to her boyfriend around 1 a.m. A few hours later, a couple of people out delivering papers noticed smoke coming from her trailer and called 911.

At about 4:30 a.m., the mobile home erupted in flames. The whole backside of the trailer where the bedrooms were located was engulfed in flames. The fire was so bad that neighbors were forced to stay back when the fire department came to extinguish the fire. All they could do was scream and cry out for Kelcey and her dog. Both were well-known and loved in the community.

By the time the fire department got the fire under control, it was too late. Kelcey’s body was found on the floor outside the master bedroom in the hallway. Her beloved basset hound was found dead in the living room.

This was the inside of Kelcey's trailer after the fire.

This was the inside of Kelcey's trailer after the fire.

The Investigation: From Accident to Murder

At first glance, it looked as though this was an accidental death by fire. The mobile home was an older one and had a faulty furnace that could have started the fire. Upon further inspection, investigators noticed that Kelcey’s body wasn’t burned as badly as it should have been if the fire killed her. They then thought her death was due to smoke inhalation, but an autopsy proved that idea to be wrong as well.

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As they investigated, they saw that Kelcey had bruising on her body, a broken nose, a busted lip, and blunt-force trauma to the head. Not only this, but she had been strangled by hand and by use of a ligament. So, she had been dead before the fire started. It’s believed that whoever killed her set the house on fire shortly afterwards to cover up their crime. It’s inconclusive as to how her beloved basset hound died and why he was found so far away from her body.

After Kelcey’s family was notified, her mother called Jami’s mother and told her what had happened. Jami was at work when she got the news and didn’t believe it until she heard it from Mary Jo herself. Nobody could believe what was going on.

Did She Know Her Killer?

The neighbors said it was a quiet night; they never heard a commotion from Kelcey's trailer or her dog barking. Given that her dog was a basset hound with a very loud and distinct voice, this led investigators to believe that Kelcey's killer probably knew her. Both the front and back doors had been unlocked as well, suggesting no sign of forced entry.

They looked into her boyfriend first, but his alibi checked out since he was out of state training with the Army National Guard.

Surveillance Footage and DNA Samples

The police did get a sliver of luck with a surveillance camera across the street showing a presumably dark-colored sedan leaving the area just ten minutes before the home caught fire. Unfortunately, the camera was too far away to get a decent description of the car or the plate number.

Investigator Doug McCarty said they recovered some samples of DNA off Kelcey’s body, but due to the water pressure of the fire hose used and the fire itself, Kelcey’s DNA and that of her killer were mixed together, so the results would be inconclusive. He sent the DNA samples to one of the most sophisticated labs to see if the two different DNA samples could be scientifically separated, possibly leading to a match for the unknown person. Unfortunately, the technology to do this is not yet available.

Updates on the Murder Case

There is still a reward of $30,000 to anybody who can provide information leading to the capture of whoever is responsible for Kelcey’s death. In 2018, on the 10-year anniversary of her death, the Kearney Police Captain said that the department still got tips about Kelcey every week. Although they do not have a suspect yet, they believe "that day's coming" and "it's just a matter of time" before the technology to separate the DNA strands in their sample is available.

Kelcey's Friends and Family

Jami Graham, Kelcey’s best friend, has found it difficult to move on. She suffered from depression and anxiety attacks for a while after the murder. She also found herself still calling Kelcey’s cell phone after she got off work because it was such a part of her daily routine. Jami now has two children and a husband. She talks about Kelcey all the time and shares photos of her with her children so Kelcey's memory will live on.

Kelcey’s parents and siblings are moving on but finding it hard. Her mother is especially broken, and every time she hears her remaining daughter laugh, it reminds her of Kelcey. Her mom wants whoever did this to be found as soon as possible—not just to get justice for Kelcey, but so nobody else has to go through the pain and terror that her daughter did.

Contact Information

If you have any information on who killed Kelcey Renae Fike, please call the Kearney Police Department at 308-237-2104 or Crimestoppers at 308-237-3424.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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