It’s been more than three months since Joshua W. Boyd made a spectacular exit from Kansas City.
Behind the wheel of a police cruiser he had just stolen, Boyd accelerated north on Broadway at more than 100 mph, heading out of town.
About 90 minutes later and 75 miles up Interstate 35, authorities discovered the police car abandoned on the shoulder of the highway. Boyd and the shotgun that had been in the car were nowhere to be found.
And since then?
“Nothing,” said Ben Becerra, sheriff of Daviess County, Mo. “There has been nothing since the minute the call came out until this minute.”
And it’s not because authorities didn’t look. And look hard.
Several dozen local officers and Missouri Highway Patrol troopers scoured the area. A Kansas City police officer helped.
Search dogs were brought in, but rain “greatly diminished” their effectiveness, said Sgt. Jacob Angle of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Officials placed schools on lockdown in the area of Pattonsburg, near where the car was found. Authorities warned residents to lock their doors and report any suspicious activity.
Officers spent the day searching woods, fields and outbuildings.
They turned up nothing.
Even after the initial intensive daylong search, officers and residents continued to keep their eyes open for several weeks, the sheriff said. Farmers carried guns with them while working in their fields.
Still, no trace of Boyd or the shotgun surfaced.
Authorities have not even received any reports of suspicious people or activities to check out.
“He got out of the car and poof,” Angle said.
It was just before 2:30 a.m. Aug. 27 when Kansas City officers went to a convenience store at 38th and Main streets to investigate a report of a man acting suspiciously. A station clerk told police the man kept walking in and out of the store and said someone was following him.
Two officers, who arrived in separate patrol cars, began speaking to the man.
He told them that his name was Joshua and that he was schizophrenic and not taking his medication, according to police reports.
One of the officers summoned an ambulance. But when it arrived, the man said, “That’s not a real ambulance,” the officers reported.
He bolted toward one of the police cars, a Ford Taurus, and opened the driver’s door. One officer ran after him. As the man tried to shift the car into drive, the officer reached in and tried to remove the key with one hand while holding onto the gear shift with the other.
The man managed to place the car into drive and floored the gas pedal. The officer backed away to avoid being hurt.
The two officers gave chase in the second patrol car. The driver ran several stop signs before turning north on Broadway, exceeding 100 mph as the officers tried to keep up.
They lost sight of the stolen car around 16th Street and Broadway.
Dispatchers tried to contact the driver by radio, but he did not respond.
A tow truck hauled the undamaged police car to the Kansas City police garage, where officers found a wallet inside it. The wallet contained a jail wristband bearing Boyd’s name. The convenience store clerk and the officers identified a previous booking photo of Boyd as the man who stole the car.
Investigators later talked to Boyd’s father, who told them his son had called him that morning and told him he was driving a police car.
He told his father that he was upset the car wouldn’t go faster than 130 mph. Ominously, he also told his father that he was holding the shotgun in his lap. He told his father that he loved him and his siblings. He said he was going to go visit his mother and grandmother. Both are dead, the father told officers.
Members of Boyd’s family said they did not want to comment for this story.
Jackson County prosecutors charged the 30-year-old Boyd, who is listed in court records as homeless, with second-degree robbery and resisting arrest. He has a sex crime conviction from Utah, and he is listed as an absconder on the Missouri sex offender registry for failing to register as required.
A Kansas City police spokesman said police were unsure how Boyd overcame the locking mechanism that secured the shotgun inside the vehicle.
The incident has not resulted in any changes in department policy. It is up to an officer’s discretion on whether or not to lock a patrol car’s doors when leaving the vehicle, depending on the circumstances. He said the incident is a good example of how officers need to be vigilant on any call.
Becerra said that after the initial searches didn’t turn up anything, he expected that some clue might be found in the fall as farmers harvested their crops and hunters traversed the fields and woods in the area.
“We literally have not had one call,” the sheriff said.