Several Ottawa County law enforcement agencies became involved in the search for the robbery suspect and investigation.

MIAMI – A North Miami man was found and arrested early Tuesday as a suspect in a late Monday night knifepoint robbery in Seneca, Missouri.

The male suspect was identified as 23-year-old Leighton Quapaw, according to Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.

Several Ottawa County law enforcement agencies became involved in the search for the robbery suspect and investigation.

Floyd said at 6 a.m. Tuesday law enforcement received information on the possible whereabouts of Quapaw and made contact with him about an hour later at his residence off South 590 Road in North Miami.

Evidence found at the scene matched what the suspect wore in the robbery, according to Floyd and Quapaw was subsequently placed under arrest by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office for Newton County.

Quapaw is accused of being involved in a Monday night robbery that occurred around 11:45 p.m. at knifepoint of the Big Daddy's C-Store located at 817 Washington Avenue in Seneca.

After the suspect attempted to purchase alcohol and cigars with a credit card that was rejected, he reentered the store presenting a knife and demanding money.

“He caught the clerk off guard and held her at knifepoint,” Seneca Police Chief James Altic said.

The clerk handed Quapaw an undisclosed amount of cash and as the suspect left the store the clerk fired multiple rounds from a handgun at Quapaw's vehicle.

“She told him to stop, he didn’t stop, at that point, there was some gunfire. It hit his car and actually shot a tire out,” Altic said. “ He was trying to get out of the parking lot in a rapid way in reverse and he hit a very large pole. When he hit the pole he caved the tire and back trunk area in and caught the bumper on the pole.”

It was unknown at the time if the suspect was struck by any of the gunfire from the clerk, but it was later found that Quapaw had not been hit.

Quapaw's car, a white or silver colored Monte Carlo, was abandoned and located about two miles south of 60 Highway and five miles from the store.

“The car just gave out, there was no front tire, the rear’s caved in- it’s a mess,” Altic said. "The best we can tell he walked over into Oklahoma. We’re less than a mile from the Oklahoma line.”

According to Altic, a credible lead came from a Facebook message after the suspect’s image from store surveillance video was posted on the Joplin and Seneca Police Department’s pages. The message gave Quapaw's location informing investigators he was gambling at the Indigo Sky Casino.

Quapaw was seen playing blackjack at the casino and had just left when the information was passed on to Ottawa County law enforcement.

Following that lead, Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputies were able to identify and arrest Quapaw around 7 a.m. at his residence.

Altic said the cash stolen in the robbery was recovered.

Quapaw was transported to Ottawa County Jail with his arrest. He now faces charges in Newton County of First Degree Robbery and First Degree Armed Criminal Action for committing a crime with a weapon and was placed under a $100,000 bond.

“Of course they sent the warrant over to Ottawa County and he will be extradited back over to here,” Altic said.

Reports possible charges may be filed against the store clerk are unsubstantiated, according to Altic.

The Seneca Chief of Police credits the information sent on Facebook and the efforts of law enforcement from the two states in locating and apprehending the suspect quickly.

“It all fell into place,” Altic said. “It’s one of the few times all of the pieces of the puzzle dropped right in.”

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.