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Missouri father, two young children found dead days after disappearance, authorities say

By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A Missouri father and his two young children were found dead Monday, four days after they had disappeared, authorities said.

The bodies of Darrell Peak, 40, Kaiden Peak, 4, and Mayson Peak, 3, were discovered together inside a structure in a rural area of Benton County, not far from where they were approached by a state trooper on Thursday evening near Warsaw, according to statements from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Family members had contacted the Greene County Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning to file a missing persons report, telling deputies that Darrell Peak and his two sons were last seen near their home in Greene County at around 4 p.m. the previous day as he drove away with them while armed with a pistol he was known to regularly carry. The family told deputies that Darrell Peak’s behavior was out of character and they haven’t been able to contact him since. They said he had a history of depression but insisted he would never harm his children, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper had stopped to assist Darrell Peak who was having car trouble along U.S. Route 65 in Benton County, just north of Warsaw, at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. The trooper later told investigators that Darrell Peak declined any assistance and that the children were with him and appeared to be fine, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

Soon after, a deputy with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office reported seeing a man and two children walking away from an abandoned vehicle along the highway. When the deputy turned her car around to stop them, she was unable to find them again and presumed they had disappeared into a wooded area. A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper was later dispatched to check the area but was also unable to locate them, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities issued a statewide all-points bulletin for the father and two children on Friday afternoon, after the family reported them as missing. Upon learning of the missing persons case, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers and Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputies searched the areas where the three were repeatedly observed near Warsaw the previous evening, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives made “several attempts” to have an Amber Alert issued for the two boys, but the case did not meet the criteria for the child abduction emergency alert. Despite the family’s belief that Darrell Peak would not harm his children, detectives ultimately decided to file parental kidnapping charges against him, “hoping that this would generate additional tips and leads,” according to the sheriff’s office.

“It is with much sadness that the Greene County Sheriff’s Office announces a very tragic ending to the Missing Person’s investigation involving Darrell, Mayson and Kaiden Peak,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday.

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