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Name Released: Pursuit Turns Deadly in Newton County, MO - KOAM TV 7

Name Released: Pursuit Turns Deadly in Newton County, MO

Updated:

(4/3/2018): Authorities have identified the man as 43-year-old Matthew K. Putnam.  Sheriff Jennings says Putnam lived in the Greenwood area not far from where the incident occurred.  The Newton County Coroner has scheduled an autopsy for Putnam.

(4/3/2018):
     A pursuit that began in newton county ends in Shoal Creek and the suspect that attempted to elude the police is dead.
Just after 1:00pm Seneca Police officers attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation.
The vehicle didn't stop - and instead lead officers from Seneca, Newton County, and the Missouri Highway Patrol on a pursuit through Newton county - ending in the Greenwood area near Shoal Creek.
Chris Jennings, Newton County Sheriff: "The individual drove his car into Shoal Creek, he had already developed a couple of flat tires, he drove it into Shoal Creek, got out of the vehicle."
The suspect entered the water, and officers instructed him to return to them.
Jennings: "He said 'no', continued on downstream, a short time later, the officers heard him yelling for help, saw him go under the water, and that was the last time we saw him alive."
Sheriff Jennings says he isn't certain what the initial traffic stop was for, and they haven't determined why the suspect fled the Seneca officers in the first place.
Less than an hour after the pursuit began, rescuers located the suspect's body in Shoal Creek, just west of Coyote Drive.
Jennings says the temperature of the water was a significant factor.
Jennings: "Obviously very cold, the water is, and he probably developed hypothermia very quickly, probably thought he could get away from the officers and then realized he was having trouble."
The Reddings Mill water rescue teams, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Newton County Sheriff's Office all assisted in attempting to rescue the suspect.
     Authorities have yet to release the man's name.
     They're waiting until his family has been notified.
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A pursuit in Newton County, MO turns deadly after the suspect tries to escape in Shoal Creek.

According to Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings, just after 1:00 p.m. today (April 2, 2018), police officers in Seneca tried to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation. The driver fled, leading to a pursuit. The Missouri State Highway Patrol and Newton County Sheriff's Deputies joined Seneca police in the car chase. Sheriff Jennings says at some point, the suspect's vehicle got two flat tires. Authorities say he drove his vehicle into Shoal Creek and then abandoned it.

Sheriff Jennings says, "The officers at the scene told him to come to them, he was actually standing in the water is my understanding, he said 'no', continued on down stream, a short time later the officers heard him yelling for help, saw him go under the water, and that was the last time we saw him alive."

Less than one hour after the pursuit began, the suspect was found dead in Shoal Creek.  The Newton County Coroner arrived just after 2:00 this afternoon. Sheriff Jennings says they believe they know who the victim is, however, they are not releasing his name until his family has been notified.

Sheriff Jennings says they don't yet know why the suspect fled officers in Seneca.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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