In connection with an alleged plot against kidnapping a child, a sheriff in Missouri was arrested along with two deputy men and one man.
Missouri State Highway Patrol detained Iron County Sheriff Jeff Burkett, Chase Bresnahan and Matthew Cozad, along with Donald Gaston, the child’s father.
The four men were charged with multiple felonies, including participation in criminal street gang activities. Burkett was also charged with attempted kidnapping. Gaston is also charged with attempted parental kidnapping.
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charging documents state that Gaston tried to take his daughter after a dispute with the mother. Burkett is accused in lying to a 911 dispatcher that Burkett reported that the mother had kidnapped her daughter. According to the sheriff, Burkett was accused of telling a 911 dispatcher that the mother kidnapped the girl.
Through the plot, the girl was kept in custody by her mother.
Burkett and the deputies are accused of following the location of the woman via her cell phone.
Burkett is currently in jail on a $500,000 cash only bond, while the other men are being held on $400,000 cash-only bonds.
Burkett’s lawyer Gabe Crocker stated that the charges were motivated by politics.
Crocker stated, “This is small town politics.” “This is the continuation a long-standing effort to remove this sheriff.”
Iron County is home to approximately 9,500 people and is located 100 miles southwest from St. Louis.
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After serving as a deputy, Burkett is now a Republican and was elected sheriff in 2020.
According to a Facebook post by the sheriff’s office, while he was in hospital for several months with COVID-19 last year, county officials tried to remove him from office, but eventually backtracked on their threats.
The post says, “It’s no secret that Sheriff Burkett has been an outsider to many current elected officials.”
Burkett will be released if he is able to do so, but he won’t be allowed to serve as sheriff while the criminal case continues.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office now has three employees, with the sheriff and two deputy in jail.
Missouri law gives the county coroner control of the department if the sheriff can’t serve.
Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen is the one who oversees law enforcement in that county and has offered his assistance.
This report was contributed by the Associated Press.