Police: Woman held captive in box faced death threats, rape

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SEDALIA - Pettis County prosecutors charged James B. Horn, Jr. Monday with several charges following accusations Friday he held his 46-year-old girlfriend captive in a wooden box since January.

Horn, Jr. is charged with rape, assault, felonious restraint, unlawful use of a weapon, and armed criminal action. Horn, Jr., 47, is a registered sex offender.

Court documents obtained by KOMU 8 News reveal greater detail about how the woman ended up being held hostage, the conditions inside the box and her escape.

Sedalia police received a call April 30 from a woman claiming that she had just escaped from being held captive by her boyfriend for the last four months. Police said the woman escaped to a neighbor's house before police were called.

According to a probable cause statement, Horn, Jr. and the woman got into a fight while driving in his car in January. Once they returned to the residence, Horn, Jr. began to build the wooden structure the woman would be held in. Court documents said Horn, Jr. made the woman help build the structure saying that she feared for her life if she made any attempt to flee or leave. The woman said Horn, Jr. would also brandish a knife with a yellow handle by "keeping it near me and showing it to me."

According to police, the wooden structure was 100 inches long, 48 inches wide, and 52 inches tall, and was located in a bedroom. The box was sound proofed with layers of insulation and padding, with a small hole cut to allow air to enter. Sleeping bags, flashlights, reading materials, and a bucket of urine and feces were found inside the box.

The woman said she was allowed out of the box when Horn, Jr. was home from work, only for him to have sex with her. The victim said she felt compelled to perform due to the fear expressed in the demand of captivity. She told police she had to return to the box upon Horn, Jr.'s demand.

Sedalia Police Detective Neva Overstreet said Horn, Jr. took the woman's cell phone during January's initial fight and would send messages to her family to keep them from thinking there were problems.  

Det. Overstreet said in mid-January, Horn, Jr. took the victim for a drive, beat her up by kicking her repeatedly and tried to force her into his trunk, but the agreed to let her sit in the front seat on the floorboard where police said he covered her with a blanket. Horn, Jr. reportedly had a tire jack with him and threatened he would use it if needed.

During the time the victim was held captive, police said Horn, Jr. allowed the victim to go outside the home with him, but always under duress and fear. Police said on one occurrence Horn, Jr. asked the woman to accompany him to the woods to get wooden pieces to help build a bed. On another occasion, police said he forced her to go fishing.

A warrant was issued Monday for Horn, Jr.'s arrest. Sedalia Police said he had still not been found as of early Monday afternoon.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the victim's age to 46 from 22.]