It was a mystery right from the start. Cops who responded to the scene of a car crash Dec. 13 along a Missouri interstate in Cooper County found a 40-year-old mother dead in the driver’s seat, and her two children, ages 5 and 11, unharmed, per KELO-TV. Based on results of an autopsy, though, the Missouri State Highway Patrol now has a development in the case: Melissa Peskey had been shot, the Argus Leader reports. The real estate agent from Sioux Falls, SD, was said to have been on her way to South Carolina. Her husband, Ryan Peskey, wasn’t in the car with the rest of the family, and on Tuesday he told KELO he’d been informed by police he was a “person of interest” in the case. An MSHP rep says he couldn’t confirm Ryan Peskey’s statement and simply noted that, as of Wednesday, no one had been arrested, per the Columbia Tribune.
Ryan Peskey, said to be a service member just home from a deployment last month, told KELO that when investigators tried to reach him to inform him of the crash, he initially didn’t pick up the phone because he’d been asleep. They touched base with him again hours later and he did answer the call. Ryan Peskey was reportedly set to head to Missouri Wednesday to get his kids out of foster care, though it’s not clear if that happened. Authorities aren’t saying much more at this time, except that the gunshot that killed Melissa Peskey came from outside the car. A GoFundMe that was set up for Ryan Peskey and the kids, to “help defray costs for funeral arrangements and provide Christmas presents for the children,” has raised more than $10,000 as of Friday afternoon. The MSHP says it’s working on dozens of leads. (Read more homicide stories.)