Manhunt for James Kempf ends in Arkansas; suspect takes his own life

James Kempf

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A Fenton man accused of shooting his estranged wife and killing her father has been located in Arkansas.

According to Officer Tracy Panus, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department, authorities tracked Kempf to rural northwest Arkansas.

As law enforcement attempted to take Kempf into custody, he committed suicide, Panus said.

The Arkansas State Police are handling the investigation.

This ends a week-long manhunt that began Thursday, January 23.

St. Louis County police were called to a home on Charity Court just before 6:00 p.m. that day. When police arrived, they found a woman outside with a gunshot wound to the leg. She told police her husband, later identified as Kempf, shot her but she was able to escape to a neighbor’s house.

The victim said her father, who lived nearby, was still in the house with Kempf. The police tactical team responded and a stand-off ensued for more than four hours – until police finally made entry into the house and found the body of 66-year-old John Colter, the woman’s father.

Police believe Kempf shot his wife and father-in-law and then fled before officers arrived.

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