Police Hunt MO Man Who|Kept Girlfriend in a Box

     SEDALIA, Mo. (CN) – A police manhunt continues for a Missouri man who allegedly imprisoned his girlfriend in a coffin-like box beside a bucket of feces and urine for several months after the two got into a fight.
     Sedalia prosecutors on Monday charged James Horn Jr., 47, with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon after the woman escaped last week and ran, hysterical and frightened, to a nearby house to call police.
     The woman, whose name was redacted from court records released this week, told police that Horn locked her inside a wooden box “to be held hostage” when he was not at the residence. He allowed her outside occasionally but forced her to “return to the box on his demand,” according to police records.
     When officers located the box inside Horn’s home, it contained a sleeping bag, reading materials, flashlights and a “bucket full of urine and feces,” according to the probable cause statement.
     The woman told police that her relationship with Horn was initially consensual. But in mid-January, Horn allegedly assaulted her during a car ride, shoved her to the ground, kicked her repeatedly and ordered her into his car trunk. The woman convinced Horn to let her sit in the car but Horn kept a tire jack on his lap to threaten her with during the ride home.
     Soon after the altercation, Horn allegedly began building a plywood-and-lumber box that he informed the woman she would be “kept in.” Horn forced his girlfriend to hand him the boards while he constructed the box and brandished a “long knife with a yellow handle” to ensure the woman’s compliance, according to police records.
     The woman told police that Horn routinely locked her inside the box, which measured just over eight feet long, four feet wide and four feet tall. Horn “sound-proofed” the wooden prison with layers of insulation and padding to muffle her screams. A single, small air-hole allowed the woman to breathe. Horn allegedly allowed the woman outside the box once to go fishing, and regularly at night to have sex with her.
     Horn’s captive “felt compelled to perform due to the fear expressed in demand of captivity,” according to court documents.
     Horn sent regular text messages from the woman to her family members via her cell phone, which he had taken, to allay suspicions that anything was amiss, the woman told police.
     Horn’s neighbors described the box brought outside by police as “casket-like” and told KMBC-9 that they had no idea of the horrors next door.
     “She would usually sit in the chair on the porch or sit in the chair out by the shed when he was out there working,” Cecilia Tuck said of the alleged victim.
     Tuck said would see the girlfriend in the backyard at night but whenever Tuck tried to converse, the woman would not respond.
     “She just looks at you like we’re weird. She just stared at us,” Tuck said.
     The same KMBC-9 newscast featured an interview with Horn’s stepmother: “I think they’re making a good boy out into a bad boy. He’s a good boy,” she insisted.
     Yet court records reveal that Horn has a history of kidnapping and rape convictions.
     Horn, a registered sex offender, was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and sexual battery for a 1992 incident in which he tied up and sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman.
     Horn also pleaded guilty in 1997 to kidnapping his estranged wife and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, according to federal court records.
     Horn, who is listed as “compliant” on the Missouri Highway Patrol’s sex offender registry, was released from prison in 2012 under “supervised release” and remained on probation the entire time his recent alleged victim was held captive.
     Federal probation officers in Jefferson City were responsible for supervising Horn’s release.
     Horn faces up to 24 years in prison once arrested, if convicted of all charges.

%d bloggers like this: