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HOLDEN, Mo. — The chief of the Holden, Missouri, Police Department found himself behind bars following charges of domestic assault. Authorities say the 29-year-old struck his wife with a hammer, leaving her temporarily unconscious.

Trent Neal has been charged with third-degree domestic assault and is now on administrative leave while the Missouri State Highway Patrol investigates. 

“The primary aggressor was arrested and transported to Johnson County jail,” MSHP Sgt. Bill Lowe said. 

His wife said Neal struck her on the left side of the head with a framing hammer Tuesday night, according to court documents.

She said before that he allegedly grabbed her neck and shoved her head into the wall, court records say. Neal’s wife said she tried to hide behind a wooden table in the garage, and that’s when Neal allegedly grabbed the hammer. 

When she “came to,” she said Neal was no longer in the garage. The woman called her friend, who then called authorities, court documents say.

“Domestic violence is a terrible crime, and so we want to make sure that we are impartial and doing our job and making sure that we’re following the steps we need to follow just like we would with any other case,” Lowe said.

According to Neal’s LinkedIn profile, he’s served as Holden Police Chief since 2019. Before that, he was a deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office for nearly four years. 

In court documents released Thursday, the woman said Neal “has a history of abusing her.” She said he’s “assaulted her multiple times each month over the past two years.” Neal’s wife went on to say he’s always threatening to take their child, telling her he’s a police chief.

She told investigators she feared losing her child and worried Neal “will harm her or kill her if she seeks help,” according to court documents. 

“We’re realizing that this is a serious crime, a serious offense,” Lowe said, “and we’re doing what we can to make sure that we help the victim.”

Authorities said Neal’s wife had obvious swelling on her cheek and a 2-inch bruise just below her temple. 

When the detective asked Neal how his wife got the bruises, he said he had “no idea” and that when they got home, he put their child to sleep and went to bed, court records say. The detective also noted an inconsistency in Neal’s story. 

Lowe said a charge like this could put Neal behind bars for up to 4 years.

Neal is expected in court April 7, according to court records.