Mike Sisco and his fiancee, Karen Harkness, were gunned down in their Topeka, Kansas, home by Mike’s ex-wife, Dana Chandler. Their case, which remained an unsolved mystery for several years, will be profiled on an episode of Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen on Investigation Discovery tonight. The episode detailing their case is titled, “Shots In The Heartland.” The Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness murders were also documented on CBS 48 Hours. Dana Chandler was finally brought to justice and convicted in their deaths.
Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen will begin with the 911 call dispatchers received regarding two dead bodies that had been found in their Topeka home. When officers arrived, they confirmed that the victims were Mike Sisco and his girlfriend, Karen Harkness. The two had been shot in bed.
Police received the phone call after family members, who had arrived at the home for a family dinner, discovered the bodies, according to CBS News.
“I rang the doorbell and knocked on the glass and couldn’t raise anybody. I thought, ‘this is strange. Just as I got to the foot of the stairs, I could see Karen, and I said, ‘Oh, Christ.’ I knew she was dead… And then I found Mike on the outside of the bed.”
Autopsy reports found that Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness died of gunshot wounds, though Mike had been shot over 10 times. The killer had most likely caught the victims by surprise.
The initial thought was that this was a robbery gone bad. However, nothing was missing from the scene, and valuable items and cash were still visible. There was also no sign of forced entry.
Investigators began looking at the family’s background. They learned that Karen and Mike had planned to be married and that Mike Sisco had been stalked by his ex-wife, Dana Chandler.
According to the Daily Mail, Dana Chandler and Mike Sisco were married for several years but divorced after they relocated to Kansas. The divorce was ugly and Michael Sisco’s daughter, Hailey, was bitter that she had to live with her father. A court found that Dana Chandler was not emotionally stable to have custody of the children. When Michael Sisco was awarded full custody, and Dana found out that she had to pay child support to him, she became livid and was dead set on ruining his life.
But, the case against Dana Chandler would take years for police to build since there didn’t seem to be any real evidence against her. Dana Chandler told investigators that she did not kill Karen Harkness and Michael Sisco because she was in the mountains alone.
During the time the murders would have occurred, Dana Chandler didn’t answer phone calls. She claimed that she was unable to answer any calls because there was no signal in the mountains.
But police investigators believe that she was in Topeka on the day of the killings. That Dana Chandler would drive from Colorado to Topeka, Kansas, just to watch and harass her Mike Sisco and his new woman, Karen Harkness, was well-documented.
Before his death, Mike Sisco stated that one day he would be found dead and that everyone would know who did it.
On the night of the murders, investigators believe Dana Chandler, bought items for a long road trip and then made the long drive to Kansas, where she hid inside the couple’s home until Karen Harkness and Michael Sisco arrived after a night at the casino.
When Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness were both in bed, police say Dana Chandler came out of hiding and shot them to death, then left without any neighbors hearing or seeing anything.
After 10 years, Dana Chandler was found guilty in a court of law. She was sentenced to two 50-year terms for each death.
Those who knew Michael Sisco and Karen Harkness say they were a lovely couple who truly loved each other. Mike and Karen’s children miss them very much and were devastated by their senseless deaths. Michael Sisco’s daughter and son, Hailey and Dustin, knew in their hearts that it was their mother who killed Mike and Karen. In the 48 Hours segment, Hailey stated that she feared for her life and received a restraining order against Dana Chandler.
Find out more details in the case by tuning into Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen tonight at 9/8 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery (ID). Last week, Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen reported on the tragic murder of Ana Diaz De Ceja, a mother whose charred body was found in an almond orchard.
[Photo by Topeka Capital-Journal, Ann Williamson/AP File]