The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Melissa A. Peskey, 40, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was found dead in her driver's seat from a gunshot near the 96 mile marker.
A South Dakota woman found dead in her SUV on Interstate 70 last week died from a gunshot wound, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported Wednesday in a news release.
Melissa A. Peskey, 40, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was traveling with her two children, ages 5 and 11, when her Ford Flex crashed in western Cooper County near the 96-mile marker.
Melissa Peskey’s husband, Ryan Peskey, told KELO-TV in Sioux Falls that investigators told him he was a person of interest because he was asleep and did not answer when the highway patrol called him at 11 p.m. Friday night to tell him his wife had died.
Patrol Sgt. Scott White said he could not confirm what Ryan Peskey told the station, but said nobody had been arrested as of Friday.
Troopers responded to the crash about 10:30 p.m. Thursday. Melissa Peskey was dead in the driver’s seat.
The patrol did not initially release a standard crash report because of the circumstances of the death, White said.
The Boone County Medical Examiner’s office performed an autopsy Monday and determined she died from the gunshot wound.
Melissa Peskey was shot from outside the SUV, according to the patrol. She had been travelling east on 1-70 before the crash. White would not say whether the shot was fired before or after the SUV crashed.
White said the two children were in the car during the crash and were not hurt.
KELO reported that the children are in foster care in Missouri and that Ryan Peskey said he was going before a judge Wednesday to try to have them returned to South Dakota.
Melissa Peskey was a realtor in Sioux Falls and Ryan Peskey is a massage therapist and South Dakota National Guard member, the station reported.
As of Friday morning, highway patrol investigators were following 65 leads, White said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help defray funeral costs and for Christmas presents for Peskey's children. It had raised over $10,000 by Friday afternoon. The page says Ryan Peskey came home from a deployment to Afghanistan in November.
According to the GoFundMe page, Ryan Peskey has made several trips to Missouri since his wife's death.
The highway patrol is continuing to investigate and asked anyone with information to call 573-751-1000.