Delaware County Sheriff's deputies foil suspected kidnapping of Joplin woman by an estranged boyfriend near the Ottawa/Delaware County line.
GROVE – Less than two hours from the time a southwest Missouri woman sent a text to her mother, alleging she had been kidnapped by an estranged boyfriend, she was free with the help Delaware County Sheriff's deputies.
Captain Gayle Wells, chief deputy for the sheriff's office, said Brandi Marts, 36, had gone to a Joplin home mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Feb. 8. When she arrived, her estranged boyfriend Scott Peggram, 29, allegedly engaged her in a struggle, gained control of both her and her vehicle and fled the scene.
Following the struggle, Marts was able to text her mother a message indicating Peggram took her against her will.
Wells said at approximately 2:45 p.m., detectives with the Joplin Police Department put out an alert, looking for the pair and Marts' dark blue 2008 Chevy.
JPD officers indicated in the alert that Peggram, who has known residences in both Joplin and rural Grove, was heading towards northern Delaware County.
Wells said at approximately 4:15 p.m., Sgt. Frank Miller observed two people in a vehicle fitting the description in the alert.
Wells said Miller stopped the car near the Ottawa/Delaware County line approximately half a mile west of Highway 10.
Initially, Wells said, Peggram identified himself as Steven Peggram - his brother.
"Sgt. Miller was able to talk briefly with Marts, who told him she was being held against her will, and that Peggram had kidnapped her in Joplin and brought her to Delaware County."
Wells said Peggram, was taken into custody on probable cause, for kidnapping and for impersonating his brother to authorities. He was transported without incident to the Delaware County Jail, in Jay. Formal charges were pending as of presstime.
Wells anticipates Peggram will face additional charges in Missouri since the incident began in Joplin.
Wells said Miller and Deputy Jesse Hendrix were able to obtain statements from Marts and later turned the vehicle over to her as the owner. She was allowed to leave the scene. She was not injured in the incident.
Wells said the couple had been in a long-term dating relationship, which included "numerous alleged incidents of domestic violence."
Peggram told deputies Marts was "psychotic" and making up the incident.
"She certainly didn't act crazy or psychotic, and provided a written statement that she was taken against her will," Wells said.