Off-duty police officer spots trouble, calls for uniformed officers to arrest suspect accused of holding woman hostage

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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. -- An off-duty police officer saw something wrong, called it in, and helped saved a woman who was being held hostage Wednesday in Clay County.

FOX 4 didn't show the man's face or use his name because of his line of work, but an off-duty police officer went beyond the badge just after 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. He'd just exited I-435 and was headed through Randolph when he says he saw Earl King do something troublesome near a truck.

"I immediately noticed him outside the car, car door open. He had her around the neck. He shoves her back in the car, he goes around and gets in the car, then pulls up to the stop light," the officer said.

The off-duty cop called in what he saw and waited until those in uniform showed up. He said sometimes there is more value in being a strong witness.

"I didn't feel at that time and place that me jumping out of the car and confronting him would've been the best option," he explained.

The victim told police she was friends with King and he was supposed to be giving her a ride, but instead she said he held her hostage in his house all night. She said what the off-duty officer saw the next morning was her attempt to escape and King dragging her back to his home.

The 63-year-old suspect is now facing a felony restraint charge and second degree assault. The officer who made the call doesn't want recognition. He said he just hopes if he's ever in a similar position, that someone in or out of uniform, will step in the same way.

Court records say King pulled a knife on the victim during the assault. She went to a hospital with minor injuries. King's bond is set at $100,000. If convicted of the two charges, he could owe fines and spend up to seven years behind bars.