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People from all over the metro claimed to know her. Some said she wished she were a man. Some said she was a rapper. People came up with a motive for Henderson's alleged crime: They said she'd been the victim of a gang rape and now was armed with a list of the names of the men who had assaulted her; she'd turn herself in once they were all dead.
A tipster told the KCPD that Henderson had shaved her head and was dressing as a man; the police released an awkwardly doctored photo of what Henderson would look like bald.
Police also took seriously a tip that Henderson had fled to Iowa. Allegedly crossing state lines while a fugitive earned her a federal warrant.
On March 19, police received an anonymous tip that Henderson was hiding out at an apartment complex at 2800 Park Avenue. Police and tactical units, along with FBI agents, surrounded the building. More than 50 law-enforcement officers spent six hours before giving up because Henderson wasn't there.
FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza says a local FBI agent assigned to Henderson's case made the argument for putting her on the Most Wanted list. "It's somewhat of a sales job because there are other agents around the country trying to get people on the list as well," Lanza explains.
On March 31, the same day that agents secured Henderson's Most Wanted status, a tip led police to the Sycamore Hills apartment complex in the Northland. When police knocked on the door, a husky voice said, "I'll be right there."
Henderson kept the officers waiting while she put on her shoes. She called out that she didn't want to be shot. When she emerged, the 5-foot-5-inch, 130-pound fugitive wore a black T-shirt and had a full head of hair. She went quietly into custody.
Was Henderson really as dangerous as the police and the media had made her seem?
Though police have presented prosecutors with other cases allegedly involving Henderson, she has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Parker, not with masterminding a crime spree. Marinella, of the homicide squad, says Henderson was the target of investigations in other squads. "But nothing ever stuck," he says.
"How long has she been in custody and she still hasn't been charged with anything new? That right there ... " Marinella trails off, then adds, "Sometimes knowing somebody's involved and proving somebody's involved are two entirely different things."
Corwin says that if he had to do it all over again, he'd handle Henderson's case the same way. The police chief is still convinced that Henderson was the center of a gang war — even though he says he isn't exactly clear about which of the gangs she belonged to.
"I don't remember [if it was 12th Street]," Corwin told The Pitch on January 10 of this year. "I think she was bouncing around all over the place, if I remember right. I feel like I'm not being very helpful, but it's been a long time ago."
On her way to the visiting room at the Jackson County Detention Center a few minutes before meeting a reporter, Henderson passed a group of kids on a scared-straight jailhouse tour.
"What school y'all go to?" she asked them.
Westport, they answered. They looked young, like middle-schoolers.
Henderson tells the reporter that a guard snapped, "Henderson, stay back." The warning clearly bothered her.