A suburban Kansas City couple was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for the killing of 32-year-old Kensie Abury, whose dismembered body was discovered buried in a yard in 2021.
Michael J. Hendricks, 42, and Maggie Ybarra, 32, were found guilty of murder and several other felonies, including sexual abuse of a child, at the close of a jury trial in July. Both allegedly lured Aubry to a home under the pretense of a sexual encounter while they conspired to kill her as part of a murder fantasy.
The chilling case was brought to the attention of authorities by a teenage girl in foster care. She reported to police that the pair sexually assaulted her when she visited them.
The young girl also said she was shown photographs of a mutilated woman with a dismembered head and told by Hendricks the approximate location of the body. Detectives with Grandview police opened a case of sexual assault based on the girl’s account and ultimately linked the photographs to Aubry, who by then had been missing for several months.
Aubry, originally from Texas, was reported missing in October 2020. In July 2021, her body was unearthed in Hendricks’ yard, at his sprawling Grain Valley home, which sat on six acres and had a hangar for a helicopter.
The body, which had been divided into white garbage bags, was buried along with zip ties and duct tape near a recently-installed septic tank. Neighbors later told police Hendricks had been using heavy equipment to dig a large hole in the yard.
Search warrants on the property yielded a saw in a tool cabinet in the aircraft hangar. The blade had traces of DNA authorities linked to Aubry.
Hendricks, formerly an owner of a since-disbanded Kansas City information technology company, was married with two children at the time the charges were brought. Authorities determined Hendricks and Ybarra had an extramarital affair.
Detectives also learned of a dark sexual fantasy harbored by Hendricks and Ybarra. Hendricks searched online for “snuff,” a term for a pornographic movie of a murder, and both allegedly later bragged to witnesses about killing Aubry.
Prosecutors said Ybarra had a cellphone app that marked the date of Aubry’s killing alongside other “special moments in her life that she wished to celebrate,” including her anniversary with Hendricks.
In asking for the judge to issue maximum sentences for Ybarra and Hendricks, prosecutors filed a motion Monday saying Aubry was betrayed by Ybarra, once her friend, and choked to death by Hendricks for four minutes in a “terrifying” and “brutal” manner.
Prosecutors also pointed to the emotional pain of the teenager who came forward to police, saying the “haunting images” of Aubry that were shown to her remain fresh in her mind.
In a statement Tuesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said her office spent “countless hours to assure justice in this case of frankly unspeakable human behavior.” She praised the young girl who came forward to police and the work of the Grandview Police Department.
“I am proud of this trial team that brought these defendants to today’s fitting outcome,” Baker said. “I must again point to the bravery of the young victim who led law enforcement to these defendants.”