Missouri Sheriff, 2 Deputies Charged in a Plan to Kidnap A Child

A Missouri sheriff and two deputies are accused of participating in a scheme to help a man kidnap his child.

Two Missouri deputies and a sheriff are being accused of helping a man kidnap his child.

According to court records, Iron County Sheriff Jeff Burkett, Chase Bresnahan and Matthew Cozad, as well as Donald Gaston, the father of the little girl, were all arrested on Thursday.

According to charges documents, all four were charged with conspiring and participating in group criminal activities under a state “street-gang” statute.

Sheriff Jeff Burkett. Iron County Sheriff’s Office via facebook

Gabe Crocker, Burkett’s lawyer, stated to KSDK in St. Louis that this case was part a long history of politically motivated attempts at removing him from office.

Crocker stated to the station that they have been trying to remove him since he won in 2020’s Republican primary for Iron County sheriff.

Crocker didn’t respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Court records did not list Gaston, Cozad or Bresnahan as attorneys.

Zach Jacobsen, the Washington County sheriff, reported that someone called his office to report that Iron County sheriff’s officers were allegedly abusing their police power. He told KSDK.

Charging documents claim that Burkett, Cozad, and Bresnahan were part in a plot to kidnap Gaston’s daughter after a dispute with Gaston’s mother.

These documents contain allegations that Burkett used 911 to falsely declare the mother had kidnapped the child. He also allegedly accused Burkett of child endangerment, without providing any evidence.

The girl was not injured,the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Burkett, Cozad, and Bresnahan were also charged with misusing 911. Gaston was also charged with attempted parental kidnapping, stalking, and Bresnahan with obtaining criminal records under false pretenses, according to documents.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office published a statement about Burkett’s condition on its Facebook Page. It stated that Burkett had been in an ongoing battle against Covid-19 and needed to be admitted. According to the statement, he was released on that day.

According to the statement, county leaders were blamed for budget cuts that resulted in fewer patrol deputies. The statement also blamed the political establishment in the area for trying to get rid of the sheriff, even though he spent months in hospital fighting Covid-19.

The post stated that “It’s no secret that Sheriff Burkett has been an outsider to many current elected officials.”

Burkett was held in lieu $500,000 bond, while the other suspects were held in lieu $400,000 bond. According to court records, a hearing was set for Wednesday to request that a judge reconsider these amounts.

Iron County is approximately 95 miles southwest from St. Louis and has a population estimated at 9,400.

Contributed by The Associated Press

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