Woman Slain By Ex-Boyfriend Who Held Her Captive In A Box & Had A Prior History Of Torturing Women

In what is a horrifying example of the system absolutely failing victims of domestic violence, a Clinton, Missouri, woman was found dead just three weeks after she escaped from captivity, and authorities believe the ex-boyfriend who held her is responsible. Sandra Kay Sutton, 46, and her 17-year-old son were found dead early yesterday of what appeared to be gunshot wounds, and police are searching for her ex, 47-year-old James Barton Horn, Jr., in their murders.

Horn has been on the run since early May, after he was charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly keeping Sutton in a box for four months at his home in Sedalia, MO. Sutton escaped from captivity on April 30, and Horn had managed to evade custody. Police found a box measuring 100 inches long, 48″ wide and 52″ tall in Horn’s home. It was soundproof, had a small hole for air, and was full of feces and urine. After her escape, Sutton was initially placed in protective custody in Sedalia, but the Clinton, MO, authorities investigating the murder said they had no idea she had moved to the town, which is 45 miles south — clearly trying to explain away how a woman who had been a victim of kidnapping and torture could be murdered by the very same person less than a month later.

Why weren’t Sedalia police checking up on her? And why wasn’t Horn in jail to begin with, given that court records show that he has a lengthy history of torturing and holding captive women who are breaking up with him, as well as rape and sexual battery? Oh, here’s why: A judge ordered his release from a North Carolina prison in December 2011, having determined that he had changed his ways. As of yesterday, it’s unclear if Horn was still under federal supervision, as had been ordered in his sentencing. Here’s hoping he’s caught before he can hurt anyone else and that a judge does what should have been done years ago and locks him up for good. [CBS News]