Our card this week is Valencio Hill, the Ace of Hearts from Kansas.
In September 2020, the 17-year-old high school basketball player was standing on his front
porch in Wichita, Kansas, hanging out with his family, when he was suddenly gunned down.
For the past two years, Valencio’s murder has haunted the community of Wichita as police
try to get information from the few people who may have the answers they need, including
the man that they believe to be the intended target of the shooting.
I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Death.
It was around 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, 2020, and Sergeant Ryan Showmaker with
the Wichita Police Department was sitting at home winding down for the evening when
he got a call that there had been a double shooting at a home in the South Central neighborhood
just south of downtown.
As lead detective, he threw on his suit and responded to the scene right away.
When he arrived, he was briefed by responding officers on what had happened.
A woman named Ivis and her 17-year-old son Valencio had been standing out on their front
porch along with Ivis’s husband Val, her other son Trevino, and her nephew Adonis Daly.
That’s when two unknown people approached the home.
One of them shouted, where’s Adonis?
And while Ivis was trying to get Adonis’s attention, the two people whipped out guns
and started firing at everyone on the porch.
It’s unclear who, but someone on the porch ran inside, grabbed a gun, and returned fire,
while someone else rushed in to call 911.
The shooters were scared off by the return fire, and within minutes, first responders
By the time Sergeant Showmaker got there, Valencio and Ivis had already been rushed
to the hospital.
At this point, Ivis was unconscious and being prepped for surgery, and moments after arriving
on scene, Sergeant Showmaker learned that Valencio had been pronounced dead at the hospital.
Sergeant Showmaker had to break the terrible news to Valencio’s family members who were
still at the scene.
Valencio’s passing meant the investigation went from a possible aggravated battery case
to a homicide case, so the urgency to catch the shooters was now at its highest.
Investigators wanted to waste no time interviewing the man assumed to be the intended target,
But that proved to be difficult, because he was one of the only family members who wasn’t
at the scene anymore.
Val and Trevino said that immediately after the shooting, like before first responders
had even arrived, Adonis fled.
He phoned a lady to come pick him up and left before even finding out what condition his
cousin and aunt were in.
To investigators, Adonis was the key to all of this, because it was clear from the get-go
that those bullets were meant for him.
I mean, you can’t have tunnel vision on any investigation, but you have to research everybody,
interview everybody to find out if anybody else was a potential target here.
But it was pretty clear, but everything I learned, especially from other people there
and the father that Adonis had had, ongoing feuds with other people.
Investigators main priority was tracking him down to figure out who had it out for him.
While they looked for him, crime scene investigators were scouring the Hill’s property looking
Technicians collected between 10 and 20 bullet casings, but that was pretty much it.
In drive-bys, that’s all you got.
This combined with the fact that usually no one wants to talk to police much after is
why drive-bys are so hard to solve.
Investigators didn’t even have the gun that returned fire from the Hill’s house.
They thought it was likely Adonis’ gun and he’d probably taken it when he ran off.
Investigators searched for Adonis all night with no luck, but finding him in the morning
You see, Adonis was on probation and wearing an ankle monitor at the time, so once morning
rolled around, investigators reached out to the ankle monitoring company and got his location.
Now what was harder was getting him to talk.
Adonis was no stranger to police.
In July 2019, he was arrested in connection with a shooting that police thought was possibly
A man got hit in the foot and Adonis and two other guys were arrested.
Police didn’t think Adonis was the shooter, but he did have a gun on him, so he was charged
with possession of a firearm by a felon.
It’s not clear if he was convicted of that charge or not, but in 2020, about eight months
after that July arrest, he landed himself in handcuffs again.
According to the Wichita Eagle, in March, Adonis physically and sexually assaulted
a former girlfriend.
He stole her phone, then led police on a car chase.
He eventually ditched the car and tried to flee on foot, but he was quickly apprehended.
He faced several charges, including aggravated sexual battery, domestic violence, criminal
threat, and theft.
He was actually in the middle of facing those charges when the shooting at the Hills House
That’s why he was on probation.
It’s unclear where he was in the adjudication process at this point, but he would eventually
be sentenced to 13 months in prison for that incident.
Anyway, since Adonis was a known gang member and criminal, police knew that they might
be looking at a long list of potential suspects, and they were hoping that Adonis could help
them narrow down that list.
Maybe he’d had beef with a specific rival gang member, or maybe there’d been a big
fight recently that escalated to the shooting.
But when investigators found him and started asking questions about his cousin’s murder,
he didn’t want to cooperate.
He told police that he didn’t have any problems with anyone and didn’t know anybody
who would have wanted to shoot him or anyone else on that porch.
I mean, this guy’s cousin was just murdered as collateral damage from someone trying to
kill him, and he didn’t even so much as want to give police a few names to look into.
Has Adonis ever, like, showed any emotion or remorse over his, like, you know, little
cousin getting killed over whatever beef he may have had?
No, not at all.
Since Adonis wasn’t cooperating, police continued their investigation through other routes.
Officers canvassed the Hills neighborhood, hoping to find someone who’d witnessed the
shooting and maybe got a look at the suspects.
But as they knocked on door after door, no one was coming forward and saying they saw
But officers did find something helpful.
The Hills had several neighbors and a business right across the street that had security
This video is actually pretty good, but if you see actually the vehicle park and the
suspects will get out of the vehicle, they’ll walk right towards a house that has a surveillance
The only problem is at that time where it’s getting dark, that surveillance video really
pixelates a lot.
So unfortunately, it was at that time, if it had been a little bit earlier and more
daylight, it would have been, we would have been able to see suspects because they’re
right, right in the, basically on the sidewalk in front of that house.
Even though it was too dark outside for detectives to make out any defining features of their
suspects, they got a great description of the car.
A black four-door Mercedes with a Mercedes emblem on the hood and Kansas license plates.
While police were busy trying to track the vehicle, the community of Wichita was mourning
the loss of a bright young life.
Valencio was a student at Wichita West High School where his teachers say he excelled
in all of his classes and was well-liked by everyone from teachers to students.
But he wasn’t just gifted academically.
Valencio was a skilled athlete and played on his school’s basketball team.
From his personal life, Valencio seemed to be a happy kid.
He did not, just by talking to everybody and going through his phone, everybody told me
that he was extremely well-liked by members of the school, members of the community as
And that’s, going through his phone, it seemed to be that he didn’t have any enemies, that
he was very well-liked by people.
But, I mean, the one common theme that we have with Valencio is people liked him.
He didn’t have bad blood with anybody, that we can tell, that his friends knew about,
that his family knew about.
On September 19th, six days after Valencio’s murder, friends, family, and classmates gathered
outside the Hill’s house to hold a vigil in his honor.
The family’s front lawn was decorated with pictures of Valencio, they had candles and
flowers and balloons as members of the community rallied around the Hills to support them during
their devastating loss.
But in the midst of everyone showing support for the Hills, police learned that not everyone
in the community was mourning Valencio’s death.
Investigators got a tip that two teenage boys were chatting back and forth on social media,
making disparaging comments about Valencio.
Something along the lines of, I did a dance when I heard his body drop.
Obviously, this was a big red flag for detectives, so they tracked down the two kids and asked
them to explain the comments.
And the boys provided what I guess they thought was an explanation.
They said that the things they were saying were lines from a rap song, like it wasn’t
stuff that they were coming up with, they were just referencing a song, they said.
Now, it’s unclear what song because Sergeant Showmaker didn’t remember and we couldn’t
find a song with those lyrics.
But investigators went on to ask the boys how they knew Valencio, but neither of them
really did at all.
I mean, they maybe had a class or two with him a few years back, but that was it.
And Valencio’s phone confirmed this, there had been no communication between him and
these two guys.
Sergeant Showmaker said this is actually something he’s seen before.
It’s distasteful, but I’ve come to find through doing that job that it’s kind of popular just
to, for lack of, I guess, better term, to just talk crap, just to kind of shoot your
I don’t know if it’s because they’re teenagers or they have an odd sense of humor or what,
but it’s actually more common than you would think.
Aside from their distasteful comments, investigators had no real reason to suspect the two teens.
In fact, one of them even proved that he was out of state when Valencio was killed.
So detectives went back to the drawing board.
But it didn’t take long for their next big tip to come in.
Because on September 21st, detectives received word from the hospital that Valencio’s mom
was awake and she was ready to talk.
Detectives went to the hospital and got Ivis’ statement, which matched up with everyone
else’s account of that night.
She had told me that they were sitting on the porch.
It was kind of darkish out.
She saw two, she didn’t find it, two black males come up towards the residence from the
street, asked for Adonis.
And she said, she turned, said, hey, nephew.
And then at that point or shortly thereafter, that shots were fired.
The next thing she knows, she’s hit and she’s down on the ground.
Since Ivis was the one who saw the suspect at first, investigators were hopeful that
she’d gotten a better view of them than everyone else.
And she actually did.
So much so that she believed she could ID one of them.
Ivis told Sergeant Showmaker that she thought one of the shooters was a guy that she knew.
Police asked us to refer to him as Steven.
Ivis said that she could actually show investigators a picture of Steven.
She pulled out her phone and showed Sergeant Showmaker a Facebook picture of several people
and pointed to one of them.
Sergeant Showmaker knew Steven’s name sounded familiar, so he took the photo of him back
to his supervisor to see if he knew the guy.
And his supervisor said, sure, I know Steven, but the guy in that picture is not Steven.
That’s someone named Ahmaud.
But he followed that up by saying Ahmaud couldn’t be their guy because he knew that Ahmaud was
in jail when the murder happened.
Now Ahmaud did bear a passing resemblance to Steven.
So investigators thought maybe it really was Steven who Ivis saw that day.
And that suspicion would only grow a few days later when Adonis was arrested.
Sergeant Showmaker didn’t want to get into the charges he was arrested on.
But regardless, when he was taken into custody, his phone was confiscated.
And investigators went through it and found some suspicious correspondence between him
Based on the messages, Sergeant Showmaker gathered that Steven was mad at Adonis for
sleeping with his girlfriend.
And it seemed like there was maybe some other instance of disrespect that Steven was upset
about as well.
So these messages, paired with Ivis’s loose identification of him, made Steven move right
to the top of the suspect list.
Detectives were hopeful that they could sit down with Steven and interview him.
But Steven’s attorney refused that idea immediately.
But detectives didn’t let that stop them from investigating him further.
They started by taking a deep dive into the cell data for Steven’s phone number.
Or should I say phone numbers, plural.
Though Sergeant Showmaker said that getting those warrants was no easy task.
Basically, these turned out to be a lot of these search warrants, especially if you’re
going really in-depth like these were, where you’re going from one thing, which one thing
leads to another, which leads to five other things.
And they become kind of novel.
So you need to be extremely specific.
Once they got the warrants, they requested the GPS data from Steven’s phone for the
day Valencia was killed to see if he was nearby the Hill’s home.
But when investigators got the results, things weren’t as straightforward as they’d hoped.
It’s neither positive or negative.
We know that Steven was somewhat in the area at the time, but the phone’s not.
The location records we have, it’s not moving at the time.
So it’s just like all day stagnant in one area.
Basically, investigators had determined a location range that the killer’s phone would
have been in.
And the data showed that Steven’s phone was just outside of that perimeter.
So it wasn’t enough evidence for investigators to arrest him or even make him seem that much
But it also wasn’t enough to make him seem less likely of a viable suspect.
But since he was refusing to talk to police, investigators were kind of stuck.
So they moved on to a different promising lead.
You see, when investigators were going through Adonis’ phone, they learned of another person
Adonis had an ongoing feud with.
Adonis and a man who we’ve been asked to refer to as Larry had been fighting back and
forth on Facebook for quite a while because Adonis and Larry’s sister were in an on-again
and off-again relationship for the past few years.
And allegedly, Adonis had been abusing her.
Larry was understandably furious with Adonis for beating his sister.
So Larry sent Adonis a bunch of messages expressing that anger and threatening him physically.
Larry was a gang member himself and had an extensive and violent criminal history.
So detectives knew he was definitely capable of something like this.
Now Larry too was easy for detectives to track down because shortly after Valencio’s murder,
he’d been arrested on unrelated charges.
But when investigators asked Larry if he’d sit down for an interview about Valencio’s
case, he declined.
He wanted no part in the investigation.
So again, with no physical evidence pointing to him, police couldn’t do much without his
They pushed pause on actively pursuing him and hoped that something else would come along.
And sure enough, something did.
In November, this is two months after Valencio’s murder, investigators got a call from an inmate
at the local jail.
He told them that he had some information to share with them about Larry.
The inmate was a friend of one of Larry’s relatives and the inmate knew that Larry was
involved in the murder.
He told police that there was a recent heated argument between Adonis and Larry about some
possible pregnancy issues with Larry’s sister.
Now it’s unclear what he means by pregnancy issues.
Like whether Adonis had gotten Larry’s sister pregnant and he wasn’t happy about it, or
if it was something else.
But apparently this argument led to Larry saying that he was going to have Adonis killed.
And since Larry was higher up in the ranks of the gang, the tipster said that he had
other people do the dirty work for him.
Now when this person gave the information, they were actually pretty specific on.
Now none of this was released before this.
None of the information on the car, what the car does, but this person had very good facts
about how they pulled up, where they parked at, how many were there, what they came up
with and what they did, and what kind of car they were driving.
So they had some pretty good information on that.
This tip was a huge break for police, but in order for the informant to be able to testify
in court, all of it had to go through the district attorney’s office.
While the district attorney’s office was handling that, Sergeant Showmaker had some officers
drop by a house that another one of Larry’s relatives stayed at.
And in the driveway, those officers saw a black four-door Mercedes with a Mercedes emblem
on the hood, the exact kind of car seen on surveillance footage.
Since that kind of car is pretty common, it could have just been a coincidence.
But for Sergeant Showmaker, it certainly added to his mounting suspicion of Larry.
In the following days, Sergeant Showmaker tried reaching out to Larry’s sister, thinking
maybe she would be willing to talk, but she too refused to cooperate.
So investigators turned to search warrants, specifically for Larry’s phones.
Once they got those warrants, police found even more messages between Adonis and Larry,
ones they hadn’t seen before.
It’s unclear why they hadn’t seen the messages when they were going through Adonis’ phone.
Maybe he deleted the text or something, but the messages were more arguments about Larry’s
sister and how Adonis was treating her.
And there were other incriminating messages they found too, particularly a message from
Larry’s girlfriend from around the time Valencia was killed, where she referenced him having
something to do with the murder.
But right around the time police were learning about this message, detectives got another
lucky break in the investigation that was completely unrelated to Larry.
Near the end of 2020, investigators got around to uploading the bullets found at the scene
to the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, or N-I-B-I-N.
And there were actually hits.
One of the guns used in the shooting at the Hills House had also been used in a few local
drive-by cases, one in July 2020, another in April 2020.
And it had been used in an unsolved aggravated assault case, get this, on the day of Valencia’s
Now, we weren’t given more information about that aggravated assault, but Sergeant Showmaker
said there’s no way to prove that it and Valencia’s murder were carried out by the
same person because guns get passed around from person to person quickly.
So the only thing definitively connecting those incidents was the shell casings.
The other firearm was connected to a criminal discharge of a firearm case from 2019 and
a homicide in another county in late 2019.
And investigators learned that in that case, a suspect was arrested.
Detectives checked into the suspect in that case to see if he could be considered for
Valencia’s case, but he was actually out of state at the time of Valencia’s murder.
As great as those N-I-B-I-N hits seemed, they didn’t turn up much.
So detectives decided to return to their most promising suspect, Larry, and reach out
to a potential informant, his girlfriend.
Sergeant Showmaker contacted her and asked her to sit down for an interview.
And to his surprise, she agreed.
In March 2021, investigators sat down with her, and it’s unclear why it took so long
to get her to sit down for a formal interview.
But whatever the case, once she did come in, she was hesitant to answer any of their questions,
so police ended up getting almost no information.
But a few months later in June, Larry’s girlfriend reached out to police again and
told them that she wanted another interview, and this time she was willing to really talk.
When they spoke, she told investigators that Larry often drove a vehicle that matched the
description of the suspect vehicle.
Which great, but no surprise there, right, since investigators already saw that he had
access to a similar vehicle.
But then she did tell them something they didn’t know.
She said that the night of September 13th, when Larry came home, she asked where he’d
been, and he responded something along the lines of, just watch the news.
This is incriminating, but it’s not enough.
We’ve done everything we can do on Larry.
As far as locations, records of various sorts, it means various social media accounts.
We just ran to a dead end where that’s where we have what we have and we can’t gain anymore.
As far as that inmate potentially testifying against Larry, Sergeant Showmaker said it’s
been a while since he’s heard from the attorney’s office, but he’s holding out hope that it’ll
work out for them.
Sergeant Showmaker said the biggest problem for the investigation has been the lack of
cooperation from those that he needs to talk most, specifically Adonis.
And he hopes it’s only a matter of time before Adonis starts talking.
For Valencio’s family, the past two years have been excruciating.
Adonis still visits Valencio’s gravesite almost every day.
She keeps it decorated with flowers, pictures of him, and basketballs, keeping his memory
alive, however she can.
It sounds wrong to say that Valencio was in the wrong place at the wrong time because
that place was his own front porch, just having a good time with his family.
That’s truly what it was.
Valencio did nothing to deserve what happened to him.
He was a great, caring kid with a bright future ahead of him, and his life was cut far too
short by two cowards with guns.
Valencio’s family deserves answers, and Valencio deserves justice.
If you have any information about the murder of Valencio Hill in September 2020, call the
Wichita Police Department at 316-268-4609.
Or you can email coldcase at wichita.gov.
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