COLUMBUS — A Missouri man was arrested Tuesday on kidnapping charges, following a traffic stop on Sunday.
According to a release from Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves, just before 4 a.m. Sunday, a Columbus police officer stopped 28 year-old Nathan R. Belcher, of Carl Junction, Missouri, finding in the car two girls, ages 10 and 15, who were not related to Belcher. Belcher was released from the scene of the stop and the officer returned the girls to their parents.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department detectives later began looking into the circumstances surrounding how the two Cherokee County girls came to be with Belcher. An arrest warrant was sought and obtained as a result of their investigation.
On Tuesday CCSO detectives coordinated efforts with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and Belcher was arrested at his place of employment.
“During the course of this ongoing investigation, a search warrant for digital evidence was obtained,” Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said in the release.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Groves said the warrant covers Belcher’s phone.
“We’ll be looking at the contents of his phone,” Groves said. “We’re looking at online sites accessed by Belcher and any communications with the alleged victims.”
Groves said his department is working in concert with JASCO and more search warrants may be issued in Missouri.
“Because this remains an ongoing investigation, I won’t go into a lot of specific details about the case,” Groves said in the release. “However, I will again stress the importance for parents to evaluate the need for their young children to take their phones to bed with them at night and for parents to know exactly who their children are communicating with online.”
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.