Founder Of Missouri Christian Boys Boarding School, Wife Charged For Alleged Kidnapping And Abuse

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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A Missouri couple behind a Christian boys’ boarding school were arrested Friday for alleged kidnapping and abuse, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Larry Charles Musgraves Jr., 57, founder of ABM Ministries Lighthouse Christian Academy, and his wife Carmen Grizel Musgraves, 64, were taken into custody by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department for allegations of first-degree kidnapping amid ongoing investigations into abuse claims. Both have been charged and jailed without bond, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

“After arriving at the boy’s home all the children there were interviewed by the sheriffs department and officers from DDCC,” authorities said in the news release.” After the interviews, Larry was located at his camper on the property and place under arrest for the kidnapping in the 1st degree.” (RELATED: Late Founder Of Johnny & Associates Sexually Assaulted Hundreds Of Teens, Investigation Discovers)

Reports from the children hinted at a culture of fear, with alleged forced physical exercises and an indoctrination that portrayed staff members as allies of law enforcement, potentially dissuading complaints, NBC News reported.

“They pretty well instilled in the kids that law enforcement is their friend … and law enforcement is not going to believe anything the kids say because there’s a reason they’re there to begin with,” Finch said, NBC News reported.

Located in Piedmont, Missouri, ABM Ministries caters to boys aged 10 to 13, as stated on their website. Described on its website as a haven for troubled youth, the academy sprawls over 250 acres near the Ozarks.

The couple’s arrest followed a probe initiated months earlier, spurred by repeated reports of runaways, according to NBC News. The investigation gained momentum after The Kansas City Star detailed escape attempts by several boys since Jan. 13 of this year. Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch confirmed to NBC News that a minimum of five boys had fled the academy in 2024 alone, all of whom have since been reunited with their families.

Sheriff Finch’s inquiries extended beyond state lines to Alabama, where he interviewed a former student, leading to further engagements with other ex-students, NBC News stated. While the specifics of the charges remain undisclosed, the inquiry’s reach widened, with federal officials participating in the examination of the boarding school.