A 40-year-old mother whose vehicle was found crashed along Interstate 70 in Missouri is being investigated as a homicide, said officials this week, according to reports.
Melissa Peskey, of South Dakota, was found shot. Officials believe someone opened fire from outside the vehicle, and they also believe that’s how she died, not from the impact of the accident, reported KELO-TV.
Peskey’s two children, ages 11 and 5, survived. They were in the vehicle with their mother during the incident, according to the report.
Tips are pouring in on the Melissa Peskey homicide case, officials say:
Her husband, Ryan Peskey, is considered a “person of interest” in the case, he told the station. He recently returned from deployment in Afghanistan. Peskey said he’s being considered by authorities because he didn’t answer the phone when authorities called to inform him that his wife died.
Ryan said he was sleeping when officials called him about her death, adding that she and the children were traveling to North Carolina to visit friends when she died.
Fox2 in St. Louis reported the crash occurred in Boonville, Missouri, on Dec. 13, and her body was discovered in the driver’s seat at 10:30 p.m.
An autopsy was performed, showing her cause of death was from the gunshots, the Fox affiliate station reported.
It’s not clear whether Peskey was targeted or shot during a random attack, the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls reported. “Currently, there is not any evidence, nor an indication that the public is in danger,” Sgt. Scott White said.
This week, the Missouri Highway Patrol posted a photo of an SUV that resembles the one Peskey was driving.
This is an exemplar photo of a car similar to the one Melissa Peskey was driving on eastbound I-70, in Mid-Missouri on Dec. 13.
— MSHP Troop F (@MSHPTrooperF) December 19, 2018
“This is an exemplar photo of a car similar to the one Melissa Peskey was driving on eastbound I-70, in Mid-Missouri on Dec. 13,” the highway patrol wrote on Twitter. “We are NOT looking for this car, but it may be helpful to anyone traveling on I-70 last Thursday and may have seen something.”
According to KELO, the two children are in foster care in Missouri, and her husband said he appeared in front of a judge this week to request his children be brought to Sioux Falls.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Ryan and his two kids, saying, “Ryan recently came home from a deployment to Afghanistan in November. This past Thursday evening he was informed of his wife’s passing due to a car accident she was involved in with their 2 children ages 5 and 11. The accident occurred down in Missouri and Ryan has made several trips already to Missouri. Due to the timing of this tragic accident, Christmas presents and the holidays will be a very difficult time for Ryan and his 2 young children. Any donations will help defray costs for funeral arrangements and provide Christmas presents for the children.”
As of Dec. 20, the fundraiser has already raised more than $10,000 of its $13,000 goal.
The Argus Leader reported that Melissa Peskey was a realtor for a Keller Williams affiliate in South Dakota.
Those with information about the death of Melissa Peskey can call the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 573-751-1000.