Man suspected of locking girlfriend in box killed by police

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri police shot and killed a suspect in the murder of a woman who weeks ago had escaped from a wooden box where she said the man had held her captive when he was away from home, authorities said on Saturday.

Officers found James B. Horn, 47, hiding in a closet of a vacant home in a state wildlife conservation area and shot him dead after he showed a weapon, Lieutenant Sonny Lynch of the Clinton Police Department told reporters.

Investigators had been searching for Horn since the bodies of Sandra Kay Sutton, 46, and her son, Zachary Wade Sutton, 17, were found shot in the home of a relative on Thursday morning.

Sutton told police on April 30 that Horn was her ex-boyfriend and had routinely locked her in a box in their home in Sedalia, Missouri, over a four-month period. Horn later was charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon, but remained at large until Saturday.

Horn was found shortly before noon on Saturday when officers entered the home at the conservation area north of Clinton, Lynch said.

“He was armed, he refused to surrender and he threatened the search team with a weapon,” Lynch said. “He was shot and killed. We have confirmed his identity.”

Police had released photographs of Horn and asked the public in the area to on the lookout.

“People were fearful of this man and him being at large, so I would say the sigh of relief is pretty big for us,” Lynch said. “However, everything about that is overshadowed by the fact that two people were tragically killed.”

Sutton and her son were staying in a house of relatives in Clinton, about 45 miles from Sedalia, where Sutton and Horn had lived together.

She earlier told authorities that Horn had forced her to help build the box and locked her inside when he was not home. The enclosure was 100 inches long, 45 inches wide and 52 inches tall, according to a detective’s affidavit filed with the earlier charges in Missouri.

Horn was a registered sex offender because of convictions in Tennessee in 1993, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol online court records. He later was convicted of kidnapping his estranged wife in Mississippi and served 10 years in federal prison, court records show.

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