An Uber driver who gave a Joplin couple a ride home from a downtown bar stands accused of crawling into bed with them later in the night and sexually assaulting the woman.

Malachi D. Murdock, 24, was arrested Friday night following a two-week investigation by Joplin police. Murdock is charged with first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse of a 23-year-old woman in the early morning hours of Sept. 15.

Capt. Trevor Duncan of the Joplin Police Department said a couple reported to police Sept. 20 that an Uber driver who gave them a ride home from a downtown bar the night of Sept. 14-15 sexually assaulted the woman.

Duncan said he did not know why they waited about five days to report the matter. But court records show they initially sought a protection order against Murdock.

Duncan said the couple told police that they did not know Murdock before getting a ride home from him after a night out with a female friend of the couple. When they got to their residence on the northwest side of town, the boyfriend invited the driver in for a drink with them.

He said the Uber driver ended up getting too intoxicated to be driving and it was decided that he could sleep on their couch. The couple eventually retired to their bedroom and their female friend went to sleep in a second bedroom. The couple told police that before they all retired for the night, Murdock had touched both women in an inappropriate manner.

During the night, he allegedly got up off the couch, entered the couple’s bedroom and began kissing the woman’s face and neck, according to a probable-cause affidavit. She awoke to find him fondling her. He ultimately went even further and committed an act of sodomy, the affidavit alleges.

Duncan said the woman’s boyfriend remained asleep next to her while this was going on. The Uber driver eventually tried to get her to take a shower with him. She refused and he went off to shower alone. Duncan said she took the opportunity to awaken her boyfriend and let him know what was happening.

The couple discussed what to do and decided to wait and see what Murdock did when he came out of the shower. When he returned to their room wearing nothing but a towel, the boyfriend sat up and told him he was no longer welcome and told him to leave, according to Duncan. Murdock complied with the request and left. But the following night, he came back to their residence and they had to run him off a second time, Duncan said.

Efforts Thursday to reach the internet ride company Uber for comment on this story were unsuccessful.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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