Family of Esme Kenney talks about murder investigation

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Esme Kenney's family says the teen's death is an opportunity to correct mistakes that may have allowed her suspected killer to roam free.

The Kenney family is also questioning the steps taken that led up the discovery of her strangled and burnt body.

Esme was found dead in these woods near her home in the early morning hours last sunday.

The suspect in her killing, Anthony Kirkland, is a convicted killer who had been released from a halfway house a week before the teen died. The Kenney family finds frustration in a system they say let Esme's killer roam free.

"We're not the family that has everyone going off to grieve in the corner," said Brad Kenney, Esme's cousin. "We're sharing things. We've also been celebrating Esme's life. We have a couple of alters in the house where we have things put out with pictures and writings and her books."

While this tight-knit family continues to mourn, questions are now being asked about the system that required a waiting period of hours to report Esme missing, then critially missing.

"We didn't feel the resources that were dedicated to what was to us a fairly obvious abduction were swift enough and wide enough to do what we needed done," said Brad Kenney.

The Kenneys also questions how Kirkland was able to walk free given his long history and rap sheet that included violence and a past murder.

"Now that I'm seeing how poorly the systems are set up, its shocking," said Brad Kenney.

When asked if the family was in support of the death penalty for Kirkland, Brad Kenney said, "I think we are unanimous on the thought that justice will and should be served in whatever form that may take and that is specific as I can get."