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Sedalia man still on the loose, charged for holding woman in a box

A Sedalia man accused of locking his girlfriend in a wooden box is still on the loose Monday afternoon.

47-year-old James B. Horn is charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon after allegedly holding a woman captive in a wooden box for at least four months, according to the victim.

Court documents from Pettis County said Horn held the victim captive between January 1 and April 30 of this year.

The victim said Horn would make her stay in the box when he was not at home, and any other time he wanted her to go there.

Inside the sound-proof box, there was a sleeping bag, flashlights, and reading materials.

The woman told police that in January, she and Horn got into an argument while driving near Green Ridge that resulted in Horn pushing her onto the ground and kicking her. Horn threatened to hit her with a tire iron and forced her to sit on the floor of the front seat. From then on, the victim said Horn held her by threat of bodily harm.

The victim also told police that after that argument, Horn began building the wooden box that she was to be kept in, and made her help construct it.

After that initial fight in January, Horn often showed the victim a large knife to instill fear in her, and took her cell phone. Horn would send text messages to her friends and family members to keep them from thinking there were any problems.

The victim told police she was allowed to accompany horn outside on occasion, and was let out of the box when he was home to have sex with him. She told police she felt pressured to do so because she was afraid for her safety.

Investigators found the box when searching Horn’s house. It measured 100″ long, 48″ wide, and 52″ tall. Inside, they found the box lined with several layers of insulation, sleeping bags, and an air hole. There was also a bucket of excrement inside the box, and the knife the victim mentioned was found in a utility room nearby.

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond told ABC 17 News deputies found Horn’s truck just south of Sedalia Thursday night.

Horn is a registered sex offender in Missouri, and was previously charged in Tennessee for kidnapping and raping a 22-year-old woman.

Police first got a 911 call around 6 p.m. Thursday from a woman who just escaped her own home. She claimed Horn held her captive for the last four months. The victim said he often kept her inside a large box in their home in the 800 block of E. 15th Street in Sedalia.

Sergeant Joshua Howell with the Sedalia Police told ABC 17 News, “It was a large wooden box, homemade, and it did appear to be constructed for the purpose of containing a human.”

Howell also said the woman was getting regular meals and was not malnourished. She reportedly did not appear to be overly physically abused.

The woman told police she was allowed to be out and about with him closely watching her.

“She had been seen by folks, so there had been some communication with her family members, just obviously very controlled by the suspect,” said Howell.

Neighbors were shocked to hear about the discovery.

“I’m creeped because I lived there. Ten months of that I was living there basically by myself. I have no clue this guy was even like this, so I thought he kind of just stay to himself kind of person. But too close to home, I’m ready to move,” said Cecelia Tuck, a neighbor.

Tuck said, “All I know is that she stayed pretty close to his side like if he was working in the shed, she would sit in the chair by the door or if he was working outside in the yard she’d sit up on the porch in a chair, and that’s where she stayed.”

Officers found a wooden box on the scene that matched her story. Horn had fled by the time they arrived. Horn is described as a white man with dark hair, around 5’11” and 175 lbs.

According to court documents from Tennessee, 22-year-old Kimberly Dye said she woke up on February 18, 1992 to Horn rummaging through her closet.

Dye had been dating Horn for about five weeks and had broken up with him the day before.

Horn duct taped her mouth shut and forced her to have sex with him. He later tied her hands behind her back with shoe strings and forced her into his semi. Horn drove Dye across the bridge at Memphis into Arkansas onto I-55 where he pulled off at an exit and forced her to have sex again.

Horn then brought Dye back to her apartment where she called police.

Horn pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and sexual battery, and was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

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