On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, area law enforcement was involved in a hostage situation involving a child on Interstate 29.

Initially, troopers responded to reports that a woman had threatened a truck driver who stopped to assist the woman after seeing a vehicle on the side of the road because of an apparent accident.

After dispatch received a call from a truck driver stating he had picked up a woman and small child and the woman had obtained a flare gun, then used it to threaten him, law enforcement was able to stop the truck.

“At that point, basically a hostage-type situation occurred,” said Sgt. Corey Root of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). “She took her daughter – we believe it was her daughter – almost as a hostage to get the truck driver to drive her north on Interstate 29.”

The woman allegedly threatened the trucker if he did not keep driving, the statement from MSHP stated.

According to a report from the Rock Port Police Department (RPPD), officers from RPPD, Atchison County Sheriff’s Office and Missouri State Highway  Patrol gained entry into the semi-truck, obtained control of the loaded flare gun and safely took the suspect and child into custody. Jessica L. Koontz, of Craig, Missouri, was transported to Community Hospital-Fairfax by Atchison-Holt Ambulance and then transferred to the Atchison County Jail, where she was placed on a 24-hour hold. Rock Port First Responders were also on the scene for assistance.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol arrest report, Koontz was charged with two counts of felony assault, first degree felony kidnapping and felony armed criminal action.

At the time of the incident, the child in Koontz’s custody was turned over to the Division of Family Services, waiting for an authorized family member to arrive.