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Boys Who Ran Away from Boarding School Asked Neighbor to Call 911. Now Owners Are Facing Kidnapping Charges

Larry Musgrave and his wife Carmen Musgrave, owners of ABM Ministries, were arrested last week

<p>Wayne County Sheriff

Wayne County Sheriff's Office

Larry Musgrave Jr. (L); Carmen Musgrave (R)
  • Wayne County officials say they began their investigation into Larry Musgrave and his wife Carmen Musgrave months ago

  • They have both been charged with first-degree kidnapping, per court records

  • A former student told authorities she was "held against her will" at the facility, police say

Police in Missouri say they have arrested a man and woman who run a boarding school and charged them with kidnapping after several boys ran away from the school over the past few months. 

Larry Musgrave and his wife Carmen Musgrave, owners of ABM Ministries in Piedmont, Mo., were arrested by authorities last week, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department Southeast Missouri said in a statement.

Larry, 57, was arrested on the evening of March 1 from ABM Ministries. Carmen, 64, was not at the location during Larry’s arrest and was detained the next day when she tried to visit him in jail in the early morning hours, the statement said.

Authorities have charged both of them with first-degree kidnapping, online court records reviewed by PEOPLE show.

Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch says his office has received notifications about five boys who ran away from the home since January, The Associated Press reported. On one occasion, a neighbor took in two escaped boys who then asked her to call 911.

However, the department says its investigation into the facility dates back months, triggered by a complaint from a former student who now lives in Alabama, according to the police statement.

The student reportedly told Finch that on her 18th birthday, she was “held against her will” after being locked in a room at the boarding school, The AP reported, citing a probable cause statement. (It is unclear when this incident allegedly happened. The school was initially co-ed.)

After interviewing the former student, Finch launched an investigation and interviewed other former students. His office also conducted interviews with the boys currently enrolled in the school, the statement said.

ABM Ministries
ABM Ministries

A website for ABM Ministries was not working on Thursday. According to The AP, on their website, the school previously billed itself as a Christian school for boys aged 10-13, helping those who are learning-impaired or struggling with ADHD and other disorders. There are about 40 students enrolled in the school at any given time, The AP reported, citing the website.

In 2009, while the school was still co-ed, a federal lawsuit accused a former principal of engaging in sex acts with a female student, the outlet reported.

The lawsuit alleged the Musgraves failed to protect the girl, according to court records cited by The AP.  The couple eventually settled the case with a $750,000 payment and the principal agreed to pay $100,000.

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Finch said in the press statement that his office expects more victims to come forward and that more charges will likely follow.

“When it comes to children, Sheriff Finch will leave no stone unturned until all victims are interviewed,” the statement added.

It's unclear if the couple has entered a plea to the charges. An attorney listed for the Musgraves did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comments.  

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