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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 30, 2022

Mother, Associate of Federal Fugitive Charged with Aiding Escape from Cass County Jail

Trevor Sparks Apprehended Today

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The mother and an associate of former fugitive Trevor Sparks of Kansas City, Mo., who was apprehended today, have been charged in federal court with assisting in his escape from the Cass County Jail earlier this month.

Dawn Branstietter, 54, of Blue Springs, Mo., the mother of Sparks, and Nicholas Parris, 38, of Kansas City, Mo., were charged with aiding or assisting an escape from confinement in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.

Sergio Perez Martinez, 43, of Panorama City, Calif., escaped from the jail with Sparks and remains a fugitive.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s federal criminal complaint, Sparks made several telephone calls to his mother from the jail in which they discussed his upcoming escape attempt. He told her to make sure there was gas in the car because “You are probably going to pick me up real soon. Real, real, real soon.” Sparks told her to “just be ready.”

Sparks made several calls to Branstietter but she was not answering the phone, so he contacted Steven Lydell Williams, Sr., 64, of Kansas City, Mo.  Sparks asked Williams to get in touch with his mother, the affidavit says, but then recruited Williams to pick him up after the escape due to Branstietter not answering her phone for several days. Williams allegedly picked up Sparks at a local Casey’s store on Dec. 5, 2022, after he and Perez-Martinez escaped from the jail.

Williams was charged in a separate criminal complaint on Dec. 7, 2022, with aiding or assisting in the escape.

On Dec. 9, 2022, Branstietter was interviewed at her residence. Branstietter indicated she would not give up her son and would go to prison so he could be free. Branstietter’s husband was also at the residence and was not cooperative with law enforcement. No other individuals were found at the residence.

Investigators searched Branstietter’s Facebook account and found messages between her and Parris, who was the ex-boyfriend of Sparks’s sister. They discussed going to Texas, where Sparks’s sister lives. While there was minimal contact between Branstietter and Parris prior to the escape of Sparks and Perez Martinez, the affidavit says, within days of the escape, communication between these two accounts grew exponentially in frequency. The messages were cryptic, vague, or directed to voice or video communication.

At approximately 10:16 a.m. today, Sparks was seen leaving the back yard of a Blue Springs residence that Branstietter had been visiting frequently. Sparks got into a vehicle with Branstietter and drove to Parris’s residence, where Sparks, Branstietter, and Parris were arrested by Kansas City police officers.

Sparks was convicted on Nov. 7, 2022, by a federal trial jury, of leading a criminal conspiracy linked to two murders and multiple violent assaults, and which distributed at least a kilogram of methamphetamine every day for nearly a year in the Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, and St. Louis, Mo., areas, as well as illegally possessing firearms. He was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy, one count of possessing firearms in relation to a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Sparks was awaiting sentencing when he escaped.

The charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce Rhoades and Robert M. Smith. It was investigated by the FBI, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Cass County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Kansas City Criminal Enterprise Task Force.

Updated December 30, 2022