‘Detective’ McMillen Helps to Solve a Case

Coach McMillen accidentally helps police solve a homicide case


Vanessa Jackson

Mr. and Mrs. McMillen had a memorable story to tell from the events they experienced on Jan. 17.

Vanessa Jackson, Reporter

LIberty’s football coach Ryan McMillen walked outside around 5:20 a.m. on Jan. 17 and realized that his truck was not where he had parked it the previous night. This would begin a memorable and bizarre day for the McMillen family.

It turned out that his 2004 GMC diesel engine truck got stolen out of his driveway by two men. Coach McMillen went from thinking some average thief just stole his truck to being told that a guy who was wanted for homicide in St. Louis was the offender.

To backtrack to how our coach got involved in a homicide case, it began with one of the two fugitives, Brett Kress, 26-year-old, who was wanted for homicide in St. Louis City.

Kress was wanted for shooting and killing a man named Jesse Lopez, 24-year-old, who was attempting to steal his car at the Conoco gas station 1314 Gravois Ave.

On Jan. 7, around 2:10 a.m. Unfortunately, Kress left the scene before the police had arrived and had not been seen since. Most recently his car was found and identified on the side of the road by police on Jan. 17. The car was discovered on the side of the road only two miles away from McMillen’s house. 

McMillen had accidently left his keys in his truck the night before the incident. He also left a University of Wisconsin sweatshirt inside.

On the morning of the crime, sometime around 5:20 a.m., McMillen went outside and took a moment, recalling that before he had gone outside (sometime around 5:10 a.m.) he had seen bright lights shining in his backyard. The only way you would see lights around where he lived would have had to be vehicle lights since there were not any nearby streetlamps. 

At the time he didn’t know his truck was missing and didn’t think anything about it. So he was contemplating that the lights he saw in his backyard could have been his truck driving away, but he wasn’t 100% sure. Finally after contemplating his thoughts, he went inside to wake up his wife to let her know that his truck had been stolen.

Coach McMillen’s totaled 2004 diesel-engine GMC truck, after being found in the ditch. (Vanessa Jackson)

When she heard this news, still half-asleep she got out of bed to go check and she also realized in disbelief that the truck was gone. She told him to call the police and stated, “It felt like I was in a movie.”

Coach McMillen called the police around 5:30 a.m. to report the truck stolen. When he got off the phone with the police, he called his brother, Craig McMillen, to come pick him up so he could get another vehicle.

After the police questioned Coach McMillen and took the DNA of all three of the McMillen’s to make sure to rule them out as suspects, Coach McMillen and Craig McMillen went to get Coach McMillen another vehicle. 

While on their way to get another vehicle, Coach McMillen was verbally identify his keys and sending pictures of his truck to the police until they saw a guy walking across the street from a trailer park to the Mobile gas station wearing a University of Wisconsin sweatshirt. What made him suspicious to

Coach McMillen was that he stated, “it was like three sizes too big on him” and “you don’t see too many Wisconsin sweatshirts around here.”  So they went with his gut feeling and stopped/followed the guy in the gas station to make sure it was his sweatshirt while still on the phone with the police. When the police got there, they questioned the guy and the guy had a previous warrant out for his arrest.

After they arrested him, he told the police that he did steal Coach McMillen’s truck and that the guy they were looking for, Kress, was hiding in a shed behind his trailer. The police got to the trailer’s shed and arrested Kress for the homicide of Jesse Lopez around 3:30-4:00 p.m.

McMillen was able to pick up his keys and sweatshirt from the police station with his brother, but the only thing he was unable to get back was his garage door key. His brother dropped him off at their dad’s house for him to borrow his dad’s truck so he could have something to drive. 

McMillen never got his truck back. The police found his truck abandoned in a ditch around 7:30-8 a.m. and the insurance claimed that the truck was totaled. Mrs. McMillen stated, “I was hoping it was fine,” but don’t worry the insurance covered what the truck was worth and Coach McMillen got a new 2008 GMC diesel engine truck out of it. That is how Coach McMillen helped the police solve the homicide case, that has now also been possibly ruled as second degree murder/manslaughter.