Charges filed against Sedalia man accused of locking girlfriend in box

James Barton Horn Jr.
James Barton Horn Jr.

A 47-year-old Sedalia, Mo., man who allegedly kept his girlfriend locked in a wooden box was charged Monday in Pettis County Circuit Court with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

James Barton Horn Jr. remained at large Monday.

Authorities began looking for the registered sex offender and convicted kidnapper Thursday night after the woman escaped and called police.

According to court records:

Police responded to another Sedalia residence after the victim fled there seeking help. She told police that Horn had held her against her will at a home in the 800 block of East 15th Street.

Her relationship with Horn had been consensual initially but turned violent, she said.

Sometime in mid-January, they fought while riding in his car along a gravel road near Green Ridge, Mo. Horn pushed her down and repeatedly kicked her. She suffered a large cut to one knee and bruises and scratches. Afterward, Horn told the woman he was going to put her in a car trunk. After she pleaded with him, he allowed her to sit on the front floor board covered with a blanket.

After they returned home, Horn began building the wooden box and forced her to help. At times, he brandished a long knife with a yellow handle.

Horn took away her cellphone, the woman told police. Though he would let her out of the box, and she was allowed to go outdoors sometimes, she felt too afraid of him to attempt fleeing, she said.

When police searched the home, they found the box just as she had described it, soundproofed with several layers of insulation. It measured 100 inches long, 48 inches wide and 52 inches tall. One small hole allowed air to enter.

Inside the box, police found a bucket full of urine and feces.

They found a knife with a yellow handle in a utility room.

Last week, police said Horn and the woman met in July and she moved into Horn’s house in September.

Horn is listed on the Missouri sex offender registry, which says he was convicted in 1992 in Tennessee of crimes involving a 22-year-old woman.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to