Man arrested in connection to alleged Cape Girardeau abduction - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man arrested in connection to alleged Cape Girardeau abduction

Person of interest (Source: Cape Girardeau FB, FBI) Person of interest (Source: Cape Girardeau FB, FBI)
Person of interest truck (Source: FBI) Person of interest truck (Source: FBI)
Jeffery Lazier (Source: Cape Girardeau PD) Jeffery Lazier (Source: Cape Girardeau PD)
Person of interest truck (Source: FBI) Person of interest truck (Source: FBI)
Jeffery M. Lazier (Source; Grundy County Sheriff's Department) Jeffery M. Lazier (Source; Grundy County Sheriff's Department)

The person of interest in an alleged Cape Girardeau abduction has been arrested, according to Cape Girardeau police.

Jeffery Lazier, 43, of Coal City, Ill., was arrested in Yorkville, Illinois, west of Chicago on Friday at about 2 p.m.

Lazier is being held on a warrant for first degree robbery, felony kidnapping, armed criminal action, first degree felony sodomy and first degree felony sexual abuse. His bond was set at $250,000 cash only.

He is accused of kidnapping a woman from Cape County Park South and sexually her on May 12.

Police say he's being held pending extradition back to Missouri.

Investigators with the FBI, Cape Girardeau Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police, Effingham, Ill. Police Department, Anna, Ill. Police Department and Centralia, Ill. Police Department have been following leads for the three days.

On Friday morning, the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab lifted fingerprints from the victim's vehicle that they say belonged to Lazier.

Investigators also confirmed that Lazier owned a red 2006 Ford F-250. They say he is a registered sex offender in Illinois.

According to the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, Lazier is considered a sexual predator. He was convicted and pleaded guilty in 2007 in Grundy County of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 3-year-old. He was sentenced to six years in the IDOC. He was 36 at the time. 

New photos of the truck were released on Thursday, May 15. The FBI said they were taken in Anna, Illinois.

They say there appeared to be a large dent on the rear quarter of the truck, behind the rear tire on the passenger side.

According to the FBI, a woman told authorities she was abducted for hours before escaping her captor on May 12.

According to the probable cause statement, the victim said the man opened her front passenger-side door where she was sitting at Cape County Park South and told her to give him her wallet, phone and money. She said he was holding a long knife that she described as being as long as her forearm, with a serrated blade that had a hook at the end.

It happened between 11 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, May 12.

The woman handed him the cell phone, but said she did not have any cash to give him.

The man allegedly took the phone and then forced her out of her car and into his truck at knife point.

Once inside the truck, she said the man demanded that she undress while he drove her south on Interstate 55. The man allegedly continued to drive south on I-55, eventually in the area of Matthews, Mo., where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Following the sexual assault, the man allegedly drove her back to Cape Girardeau.

The man also asked the woman where her home bank was located. She said she suggested he let her try to withdraw money from a bank ATM in Cape Girardeau. While sitting in the drive thru of the bank, authorities say security cameras caught the victim having to climb into and over the lap of the man as she tried to pull money from the ATM machine. She was unable to withdraw any money.

After that, the man allegedly drove the victim to a bank in Illinois where she was able to withdraw money. After leaving the bank, at about 5 p.m., the victim said she saw an opportunity and escaped from the vehicle in Effingham, Ill. on an off-ramp (Exit 159) of Interstate 57.

At 8:11 p.m., authorities say the victim's vehicle was found in Cape County Park South. It was processed for evidence and authorities say two fingerprints were found on the exterior front passenger's side door handle.

On Friday, May 15, the highway patrol crime lab announced the fingerprints checked to Jeffery M. Lazier.

After being told the identity of the man, the victim said she did not know Lazier and there was no reason his fingerprints should be on her car other than him being the man who allegedly robbed, kidnapped and sexually assaulted her.

Lazier was arrested on Friday, May 15.

At the time of his arrest, authorities say he was wearing the same hat that he was wearing when he was caught on surveillance video.

The officers say they also recognized Lazier's face as that of the man's face caught on the same surveillance video from the bank ATM in Cape Girardeau.

According to Cape Girardeau Police, the victim is with her family now and doing as well as can be expected. 

"We don't ever want to see anybody get hurt," said Cpl. Darin Hickey. "This is our community and this individual could be a danger to our community and to others. We are taking this very seriously and tracking all the video and every sighting we can." 

Cpl. Hickey said every situation is different, but in this case she did the right thing, cooperating until she saw a chance to get away. He said she saw her opportunity at an intersection, jumped out of the truck and ran for help. 

"It was the right thing for her to do at that time," said Cpl. Hickey. "If you find yourself there you just have to be aware and stay calm and do what you need to do to stay alive. We are so thankful that she is alright. Parents, and anybody out there you have to be aware all the time. Be aware of your surroundings. Bad things can happen anywhere." 

As for people in Cape Girardeau, they say this is a situation that has them realizing these days anything can indeed happen. 

"I am not that surprised it happened in broad day light and that's sad," said Kristy Unger. "I work at the Career and Technology Center and being by the Interstate, we have to be aware that's an avenue that could be a gateway for someone to get away. This has certainly been a time when we've told the students here to be more aware no matter where they are and every school should do the same." 

"It just seems like things are happening in communities like Cape that didn't happen before," said Ashley Thompson Fletcher. "You have to always be aware of your surroundings at all times." 

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