Saturday, May 14, 2011
[KS] KLETC Police Instructor Brett Seacat arrested for murder of wife, Vashti Forrest
...[Vashti Forrest] Seacat had filed for divorce just days before the fire... Vashti served divorce papers to her husband two days before the fire... In those papers, Brett Seacat was ordered out of the house, but family members told KAKE News that Vashti was allowing Brett to sleep on the couch until he was able to find new living arrangements...
...Neighbors say a block party, planned for last Saturday, was canceled by her husband right before the fatal blaze. "He said she had filed for divorce and there wasn't going to be a party and that was the last time had seen either one of them"...
...Brett has been a police instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Center [South of Yoder] since Sept. 8, 2008, according to KLETC Director Ed Pavey. A former Sedgwick County Sheriff's deputy, Seacat teaches basic training at the law enforcement center and is currently on personal leave from work, Pavey said Friday...
...Many neighbors reported hearing what sounded like gun shots or fireworks right before the fire started...
...Several agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas State Fire Marshal and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Kingman authorities in the investigation...
A memorial fund to provide for the education of Vashti Seacat's two sons has been established. Contributions may be sent in the name of Brendan and Bronson Vashti to the Bank of America branch at 7310 W. 21st St., Wichita 67205. [THIS FUND IS CONTROLLED BY VASHTI'S FAMILY - NOT BRETT.]
POLICE INSTRUCTOR & FORMER DEPUTY CHARGED WITH MURDERING WIFE: Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today filed criminal charges against Brett Seacat, in connection with the death of 34-year-old Vashti S. Forrest [Seacat].
Reporter: News Release
Friday, May 13, 2011
[Excerpts] The Kansas Attorney General has filed criminal charges against Brett Seacat, the husband of a woman killed in a massive house fire in Kingman on April 30. Seacat has widely been rumored to be a suspect in the case, but all authorities have been highly secretive about the investigation since Vashti Seacat was found dead inside the family home in Kingman. At first saying it was a criminal investigation, Kingman Police recanted and told media outlets the investigation was simply "routine." They will not comment on autopsy results that were completed last week... Kingman County Attorney Matthew Ricke then requested the help of the Kansas Attorney General, who confirmed that Brett Seacat, 35, was arrested at 5:00 PM Friday. He is currently being held in the Kingman County Jail on charges of first degree murder, aggravated arson, and two counts of aggravated child endangerment... The Attorney General's Office will be prosecuting the case with Kingman County Attorney Mathew Ricke... Vashti Seacat, 34, had filed for divorce from Brett Seacat two weeks before the fire broke out. In those papers, Brett Seacat was ordered out of the house, but family members told KAKE News that Vashti was allowing Brett to sleep on the couch until he was able to find new living arrangements. [Full article here]
MORE DETAILS ON BRETT SEACAT EMERGE
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
By Rebecca Gannon
May 13, 2011
35 year old Brett Seacat lived in Kingman for most of his life. He graduated from Kingman High School in 1994. Vashti Seacat filed with the courts for a divorce on April 14th. The paperwork granted Vashti exclusive possession of their dwelling, the Kingman house. The papers also state that if Brett, her husband, were to return to the residence without permission or invitation, it would be criminal trespass. She served those papers to Brett two weeks later. Two days later, around 4 am Saturday April 30th, her home caught fire. Vashti died in the blaze. Brett and their two children made it out. Seacat is well known by law enforcement. For about 10 years, he served with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office. Early on, he was listed in a wrongful death suit, but that was dismissed. From then on he worked on street beats, felony warrants and became a court guard. By 2008, he was promoted to deputy in the department. He left soon after to be an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Reno County. [Full article here]
NEIGHBORS REACT TO ARREST OF HUSBAND FOR THE DEADLY KINGMAN HOUSE FIRE
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
by Christina Karaoli Taylor & Chris Durden
May 13, 2011
[Excerpts] The Kansas Attorney General has filed criminal charges against 35-year-old Brett Seacat in the death of his wife, 34-year-old Vashti Seacat. Vashti Seacat died when her home caught fire April 30. Her husband and their two young sons made it out safely. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation helped in the investigation and late Friday afternoon the Attorney General's office filed the following charges: The family [?] released the following statement Friday night: "We are very sorry about this whole thing. No matter what happens, it's sad all the way around." Vashti Seacat served divorce papers to her husband two days before the fire. Brett Seacat and the couple's two boys survived the fire... Seacat also faces charges for endangering them because they were home during the fire... [Full article here]
HUSBAND CHARGED WITH MURDER, ARSON: Police instructor is suspected of setting house fire, killing wife.
The Hutchinson News
By Darcy Gray
[Excerpts] A police instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center has been charged with first-degree murder and arson in the death of his wife, whose body was found after an April 30 fire at the couple's Kingman home... Sarah Yost, a friend of Vashti Seacat, said Friday she thought the charges were an "obvious" outcome but could not say the arrest of Brett Seacat had brought any peace to Vashti's family and friends. "It doesn't really bring closure, but if he's found guilty, if he did it, then I'm glad there's no screwing around and he's going to have justice for what he did," Yost said... [Deputy chief of staff for the attorney general's office Jeff] Wagaman also could not discuss the autopsy results in the case or how Vashti died, whether it was a result of the fire or otherwise. "Those details will come out at the time of trial," he said.... Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents have been working feverishly on the case since the fire was reported, with assistance from the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives... Brett Seacat was also at the vigil [for Vashti] with the two boys, Brendan and Bronson, but stood at the back of the crowd through most of the vigil and spoke little to Vashti's family... Brett has been a police instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Center since Sept. 8, 2008, according to KLETC Director Ed Pavey. A former Sedgwick County Sheriff's deputy, Seacat teaches basic training at the law enforcement center and is currently on personal leave from work, Pavey said Friday. "His (employment) status will be reviewed by human relations," said Pavey, who could not comment further on Seacat's case... Kathleen Forrest has described her sister, Vashti as a "super woman." "Her two boys were her life," Kathleen said previously. On Friday, Sarah Yost said Vashti was gentle, sweet and very intelligent. Vashti, who worked at Cox Communications in Wichita, was also a creative person, Yost said. "She was interested in being the best woman and mom she could be," Yost said. "She wasn't a pushover at all. She was really smart. "She was a connector - she brought people together"... [Full article here]
By Kim Wilhelm
May 14, 2011
[Excerpts] Brett Seacat, a law enforcement instructor and former sheriff's deputy sits in jail for the murder of his wife, Vashti... Seacat was a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy for nearly ten years. He now teaches police work at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. Retired FBI agent Dan Jablonski is not involved in this case but says it's not unusual to wonder if and how Seacat's background plays into the crime. "How a person with a law enforcement background might pull off a crime having knowledge of the law enforcement world and how they operate," said Jablonski. "You take that into account but you approach everyone the same"... Jablonski says arson investigation is a specialized area - not something a typical law officer may know about... Rich Forrest is Vashti's brother. He says after his sister's death, the family did think about Brett's law enforcement background. "That goes through your mind albeit briefly," said Forrest. Forrest says the family has full trust in the investigation. "Do we know as much as we like to know? Absolutely not. But do I think there's a reason that the KBI and various law enforcement agencies have for us not knowing? Absolutely." Brett Seacat is expected to appear in court next week. [Full article here]
EXCERPTS FROM EARLIER ARTICLES:
ONE PERSON DIES IN KINGMAN COUNTY HOUSE FIRE
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
By Ryan Johnson and Dave Roberts
April 30, 2011
One person is dead and three others escape after a house fire in Kingman early Saturday morning. It happened in the 200 block of East B. Avenue at just before 4am this morning. Both the Kingman Fire department and Kingman Police department responded to the house fire call. Officials say a preliminary investigation shows that 34 year-old Vashti S. Seacat of Kingman died. The Kingman Police Department is being assisted in the investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas State Fire Marshal Office. Neighbors say when the fire broke out, it sounded like a gun or firecrackers going off. The investigation into what caused the fire will continue through the weekend. [LINK]
KINGMAN FIRE VICTIM IDENTIFIED
Reporter: Jared Cerullo
May 2, 2011
[Excerpts] Speculation is clearly running rampant in a normally quiet Kingman neighborhood. Everyone is wondering who could be responsible for leaving a wife and mother dead. "I didn't see no trouble until about three months ago," said [neighbor] Burel Nicks... "She just started dressing different and losing weight. She would be gone 2-3 days at a time," Nicks said. "She would have her clothes in a rollaway and she'd be gone 2-3 days at a time." [Vashti] Seacat had filed for divorce from her husband of seven years, Brett Seacat. Public documents show she made the filing just two weeks ago. In those documents, Brett Seacat was ordered out of the home and given joint custody of their two children... Meanwhile, other neighbors said Seacat was a "beautiful spirit." They described her as a kind woman who appeared to be a loving mother to her two young sons and full of energy. Brett Seacat, Vashti's husband, is a former Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy. He left the department in 2008 to become an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson. We're told he is on leave from that position at this time. Authorities have not named any suspects in the case, but the Kingman Police Chief and the KBI say the case is a criminal investigation. No arrests have been made... [Full article here]
DOZENS GATHER FOR VIGIL TO HONOR KINGMAN MOTHER WHO DIED IN HOUSE FIRE
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
By Kim Hynes
May 05, 2011
[Excerpts] Dozens gathered in Kingman Thursday night to mourn the loss of a woman they knew and loved. "It's been hard, it's been really tough. All I can say is she's a good person," said Gayle Oller about Vashti Seacat. Thirty-four year-old Seacat died early Saturday morning after her home caught fire. Her husband and two young sons made it out safely... "It's sad when somebody is young, as full of life as she was and we lose them this early and in such a manner. You've seen the house, it's tough to take," said her brother Rich Forrest. Still her husband, two young sons, sister, brother family and friends stood outside the burnt home to pray. "It makes me feel good, I find some comfort in that," said her father Clint Forrest. Her brother says seeing so many people hold candles helps ease the pain as they wait to find out what caused Seacat's death to happen. "That's really tough for the family. All I can say is we have to trust the agencies that are involved have a reason for doing what their doing. We have to put all of our hopes in that because it's the only hopes we have right now," Rich Forrest said... Many neighbors reported hearing what sounded like gun shots or fireworks right before the fire started. Officials haven't labeled the investigation as suspicious. A patrol car remains outside of the Kingman home twenty four hours a day. Seacat had filed for divorce and served her husband Brett with the papers two days before the fire started... Brett Seacat sent the following statement to Eyewitness News: "Vashti was and is an angel. I have known her for nearly twenty years and like almost everyone else that has knew her, I have loved her from the moment I met her. Sadly, she lived her life always wondering if people liked her, all the while people around her thought the world of her. Though our marriage was ending, I will always treasure our time together. The only thing she did better at than friendship was motherhood. She was the picture of love and dedication to the two little boys who are every bit as perfect as her. I am not able to make sense of what happened and I never will. She just never had any idea what she meant to everyone she knew. Everyone loved her. Her family loved her. Her boys loved her. I loved her. I'm sorry I can't put more into words"... [Full article here]
VIGIL REVEALS MUCH LOVE FOR VASHTI: Loved ones say woman lost in fire was devoted to sons, always kind.
The Hutchinson News
By Ken Stephens
May 5, 2011
Vashti Seacat, the 34-year-old mother who was found dead after an early morning fire in her home last Saturday, was remembered Thursday by friends and family as a happy and positive person, bright and caring and a devoted mother to her two young sons, Brendan and Bronson. "My sister was a super woman," Kathleen Forrest said. "Her two boys were her life" Although Vashti Seacat had a long commute to work at Cox Communications in Wichita, she devoted her evenings and weekends to her children and liked to take them to the zoo or to museums... Because the Seacat boys lost most of their things in the fire, parents of the other children at Tree House Learning Center gathered toys and clothing for the children... Family friend Elaine Jacobs of Harper told the gathering of how she met Vashti more than 20 years ago. Vashti spoke to her about religious music and told her "Sanctuary" was her favorite song. Jacobs then led the mourners in singing the song, which began "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary." "That's exactly how she lived. She was a woman of God," Jacobs said. The fire was reported about 3:55 a.m. Saturday. Vashti's husband, Brett Seacat, an instructor at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center south of Yoder and a former Sedgwick County sheriff's officer, escaped the fire with the couple's two sons... Several agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas State Fire Marshal and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Kingman authorities in the investigation... Vashti's aunt, Karla Chase, called her niece "one of the strongest, most beautiful women I've known in my life. ... But as beautiful as she was physically, she was just as beautiful spiritually"... The family also has established a memorial fund to provide for the education of her children. Contributions can be sent in the name of Brendan and Bronson Vashti to the Bank of America branch at 7310 W. 21st St., Wichita, 67205. [LINK]
..."Sanctuary" was her favorite song. Jacobs then led the mourners in singing the song, which began "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary"...
KINGMAN GATHERS TO MOURN MOM
The Wichita Eagle
By Tim Potter
May. 06, 2011
[Excerpts] Felicia Ryder didn't know Vashti Seacat but felt compelled to help organize a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of the 34-year-old woman. "Kingman is a small community," Ryder said. "But you know what? We are a caring community." Dozens of people, including friends and relatives of Seacat's, gathered Thursday evening... Relatives say that Vashti Seacat worked in human resources for Cox Communications in Wichita. Brett Seacat is a former Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy and currently is an instructor with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center who gives basic training to police recruits... Brett Seacat was among the people at the candlelight vigil Thursday night... As the vigil was held across the street from the Seacat house, the smell of charred debris hung in the air, and those attending stood on blackened remains of embers that had blown from the burned home, encircled in yellow police tape and guarded by officers. Family members say that Vashti Seacat had a strong Christian faith... [Full article here]
SERVICE HELD FOR KINGMAN WOMAN KILLED IN FIRE
KWCH 12 Eyewiness News
By; Karl Man
May 07, 2011
[Excerpts] A celebration of life was held Saturday afternoon at Central Christian Church for a Kingman mother killed in a house fire. Family and friends gathered to remember Vashti Seacat who was killed one week ago in the early morning blaze. "The amount of outpouring we have seen from friends and family is phenomenal and it just shows you what kind of person she was," says Vashti’s brother Rich Forrest. "We know she is in heaven, we will miss her everyday," says friend Robyn Winzer. The chapel at Central Christian Church overflowed with people during the memorial service for Seacat. Friends and family gave tearful speeches, told insightful stories; they say its part of the grieving process... Family and friends also used the afternoon to start a scrapbook for Seacat's two sons. They say they want the boys to grow up remembering what a loving supporting mother they had. [Full article here]
FROM VIDEO: ..."She was a phenomenal mother. She was a phenomenal person. She was a phenomenal friend. And she was a phenomenal sister. There is nobdy that I have ever met that was a better person than Vashti"...
MOURNERS REMEMBER THE LIFE OF KINGMAN MOTHER
Updated: 5/07 6:21 pm
[Excerpts] Hundreds of mourners gathered for a church service Saturday to remember the life of 34 year old Vashti Seacat. Seacat was killed last week in a house fire. Many questions remain unanswered about her death, but for now, her loved ones are trying to remember her for the great person she was... There was no casket; only pictures and memories of the mother of two, who was known for her warm and giving personality. "If you needed anything you could go to Vashti and she would do everything she could to help you out," said Erica Head. The past week has been difficult for friends and family. They are all waiting on answers as to why her husband, a former Sedgwick County deputy and two children were able to escape the house, but she wasn't. Seacat had filed for divorce just days before the fire. Neighbors say a block party, planned for last Saturday, was canceled by her husband right before the fatal blaze. "He said she had filed for divorce and there wasn't going to be a party and that was the last time had seen either one of them," a neighbor said, earlier in the week. A criminal investigation is underway, by the Attorney Generals office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigaton, who have not commented about the case... [Full article here]
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