The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 6, 2012

Sheriff: Nighttime intruders may have had wrong house

By Jeff Lehr

NEOSHO, Mo. — Four armed men’s invasion of a home and terrorizing of a family in the middle of the night in rural Newton County may have been a case of a mistaken address, according to the sheriff.

Sheriff Ken Copeland said the family of four, including a baby and toddler, were asleep about 2 a.m. inside their home in the 6000 block of Raccoon Road.

“They heard a loud banging at the front door and the door was kicked in before they could even get out of bed,” Copeland said.

Four men with guns burst into the bedroom where they were sleeping and took the husband into a bathroom, where they began pistol-whipping him, the sheriff said.

“They kept demanding drugs and money of which the occupants didn’t have any,” Copeland said.

He said the intruders also threatened the mother several times in an effort to get the couple to give up the location of what they seemed to think would be a large amount of cash and crack cocaine.

As it became apparent the couple did not have any cache of drugs or money, the intruders gathered near the front of the house to discuss the matter. The father and mother seized the opportunity to grab their children and flee out the back of the house, the sheriff said.

The men then left, taking only a small amount of cash that the mother had in her possession. The sheriff said the suspects may have been in a blue Ford Taurus.

The father was taken to a Joplin hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the beating.

Copeland said the man and woman did not recognize any of the intruders. He said investigators think the crime may have been a matter of a mistaken address.