Cops: Woman forced to help build wooden box she was held in - KCTV5

Cops: Woman forced to help build wooden box she was held in

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Repeat sex offender James Barton Horn remains on the run as court documents reveal chilling news details about the mental and physical abuse that a woman says she endured for the past four months.

The prosecutor for Pettis County on Monday charged Horn, 47, with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon. If convicted, Horn could face life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

Court records show Horn has a history of torturing, raping and holding women captive who were breaking up with him. Prosecutors said he was a sexual sadist who should be forced to stay in a mental institution, but a federal judge four years ago rejected that request, saying Horn had shown a willingness to change after 15 years in federal prison.

Thursday evening, a 38-year-old woman ran screaming to a neighbor's home for help. Authorities said after the couple had a bad falling out, Horn attacked the woman and forced her into a wooden box that was 100'' long, 48'' wide and 52'' tall. She was sexually assaulted and routinely locked in the box, but was given food and water, authorities said.

A police sergeant had given the barest of details about the case on Friday. Court documents on Monday revealed more sinister details about the woman's confinement inside the home at 807 E. 15th St.

The wooden box was made out of plywood and lumber. It had soundproof insulation on top of it. There was a "small hole" for air, according to court documents. Inside were sleeping bags, reading materials, flash lights and a small bucket containing the woman's waste.

The woman said she was forced to help build the box that she was kept since January when he was at work at Tyson Foods in Sedalia. When he came home at night, he would take her out of the box and force her to have sex with him, according to court documents.

Authorities said after the couple had a bad falling out in mid-January, Horn attacked the woman. She said they were along a gravel road near Green Ridge when Horn pushed her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her. She suffered cuts, bruises and scratches. He tried to force her into the trunk but she managed to get him to allow her sit on the floor board. She told authorities that he threatened to beat her with a tire jack.

The woman stated, "from that instance on, Horn held her against her will by threat and bodily harm," according to court documents.

She watched as he built the wooden structure that he planned to hold her in. He made her hold boards by threatening her with a knife. He used her smartphone and sent text messages to her family in which he pretended to be her so they wouldn't be worried.

Authorities found the crate in a bedroom and a large knife was found near it.

Police officers had asked for Horn to be charged with second-degree assault, rape, felony restraint, unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action. Prosecutors instead filed a kidnapping charge but did not file a rape charge.

Ambulance workers checked out the woman at the scene. She was not taken to a hospital to be checked out where a rape kit could be performed, according to court documents. Authorities have not said why that did not occur.

KCTV5 spoke to Maria Olmedo on Monday. It was her home that the woman sprinted to. Her 12-year-old son called 911 as the woman ran up to hide in a hallway.

Olmedo got home before police arrived. Her frightened, wide-eyed son told his mother about the unexpected visitor who had barged into their home.

"I heard her crying. She was hiding in my hallway," Olmedo said. "She was frantic. She was hysterical."

The overwrought woman was scared and nearly bolted when officers arrived, but Olmedo convinced her that the officers would take care of her.

Olmedo was there as the woman described her prison down to the number of pillows (one), bottled water (one) sleeping bags (two) and flashlights (three).

"I guess at night he would come home and they would live like a normal couple. They would sleep together. She said that he would put her back in (the box) at 4:30 in the morning right before he went back to work," she said.

After describing her terror and getting checked out by EMTS, the woman was upset when it came time to go to the police station.

"She came up and hugged me and said was like, 'I don't want to go, and I said, 'But they're the law. You are gonna be fine,'" Olmedo said. "So she finally left then."

Her children are now afraid to sleep alone, and the children won't want to play outside. Their mother is reassuring them, and hoping eventually to return some normalcy to their lives.

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