A Missouri sheriff named Jeff Burkett and two deputies are suspected of aiding in the kidnapping of a child.
According to court documents, Iron County Sheriff Jeff Burkett, deputies Matthew Cozad and Chase Bresnahan, as well as the girl’s father, Donald Gaston, were arrested on Thursday.
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Who is Jeff Burkett?
Jeff Burkett, the Sheriff of Iron County, was serving his first term when he was suspected of assisting a man in the kidnapping of a child.
According to court documents, Iron County Sheriff Jeff Burkett, deputies Matthew Cozad and Chase Bresnahan, as well as the girl’s father, Donald Gaston, were arrested on March 16, 2023.
According to charging papers, all four have been charged with conspiracy and participating in group criminal behavior under a state “street gang” statute, in addition to other individual charges.
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The case, according to Burkett’s lawyer Gabe Crocker, was a part of a history of politically motivated efforts to remove him from office, NBC station KSDK of St. Louis reported.
Since he won the Republican primary election for sheriff in Iron County in 2020, “they’ve been trying to get rid of him,” Crocker told the station.
Attorneys for Bresnahan, Cozad, and Gaston are not listed in court documents.
The sheriff of nearby Washington County, Zach Jacobsen, told KSDK that someone reported that sheriff’s officials in Iron County were allegedly abusing their police authority by calling his department. This is where the case first began.
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According to the charging papers, Burkett, Cozad, and Bresnahan participated in a plan to aid Gaston in kidnapping his daughter after a disagreement with the child’s mother.
According to the documents, Burkett reportedly falsely reported the mother had kidnapped the girl to 911 and also accused the mother of endangering the child without providing any proof.