Authorities are continuing in their investigation of the death of 57-year-old Assaria woman, Lori Heimer.

Authorities are continuing in their investigation of the death of 57-year-old Assaria woman, Lori Heimer.

Family members have opened a GoFundMe account to cover costs and potentially fund a reward for information that leads to solving the case. Updates from the family and ways to donate can be found by joining the Facebook group “Answers, Prayers and Support for Lori Heimer and Family.”

Family members found 57-year-old Lori Heimer dead in her home in the 10500 block of S. Hopkins Road shortly before 8 p.m. on June 25. She was pronounced dead at the scene by Salina EMS.

For the past 16 years, Heimer bred toy and teacup poodles and other designer puppies at her home business, Lori’s Poodle Patch. The dogs were raised in a building behind the family home. Many residents visited the kennels on Heimer’s property in Saline County. Heimer has lived in the area with her husband Ronald since 1990, where they raised four daughters.

The investigation is being conducted by the Saline County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which was asked to assist.

“We’re still looking for any information that may lead us,” said Lt. Michael Ascher of the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. “There’s over 200 leads that we’ve either investigated or followed up with, so we need the public’s help.”

Residents of the area were concerned that similar cases in the Salina area could have been committed by the same person, John James Brown, who was incarcerated by the Salina Police Department. However, the Saline County Sheriff’s Office does not believe those crimes to be related at this time.

“Given the nature of the crimes in Salina, involving knife attacks, we have investigated that potential lead, but there’s been no arrests made on him or anyone else at this point,” Ascher said. “We are currently investigating any and all leads coming in surrounding anyone for this case.”

During the investigation, the KBI found two vehicles of interest, which are are:

n An older flatbed pickup truck, possibly a Chevrolet, which is “beat-up,” maroon in color, white front bumper, silver grill, wide-style side mirrors, with a driver that is 50 years of age or older, with “salt and pepper” hair.

n An older-style, small pickup truck, possibly a Chevrolet S-10, two-tone — dark blue on top and bottom with light blue in the middle — silver back bumper, but the tailgate is blue (like the body of the truck) and is newer or appeared to have minimal damage when compared to the body of the truck. The remainder of the vehicle is described as “beat up” and “scratched up”. There may be two animal cages or crates in the back. The KBI says the driver of the second vehicle was described as a white male, approximately 40 years of age with shoulder length hair, wearing glasses.

“We’ve put out a couple different vehicle descriptions asking for assistance. We’ve received numerous tips on the vehicles,” Ascher said. “We don’t intend to release a photo because the witnesses who observed the vehicles in the area didn’t take a photo or anything, so they did their best to describe what they saw in detail. For example, one of the trucks was described as a smaller truck, possibly a Chevy S-10. We don’t know that for sure, but we know it's a smaller cab pickup truck.”

Ascher explained that residents should use common sense regarding their safety.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about public safety, so we always tell people to lock doors and vehicles,” Ascher said. “We don’t know who committed this crime, so we’re telling people to be vigilant of their surroundings, lock doors, and the level of protection they think they need to keep family safe it up to them.”

Authorities are seeking anyone who has information about the vehicles, knows of anyone who came into contact with Heimer on June 24 or 25 or had an appointment with her this month concerning her dog business. Tips can be called in to 1-800-KSCRIME.