(KMOV.com) – Charges have been issued against a man believed to be involved in the Arapaho Campground assault over Memorial Day weekend.
Joshua Lueken, 32, was charged with second-degree assault, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office believes Lueken has retained an attorney, and his bond was set at $75,000. He remains at large.
Franklin County Deputies responded to Missouri Baptist Hospital around 3:02 p.m. in reference to a victim that had been severely assaulted.
The Franklin County Sheriff believes the instigator was the camp’s owner, apparently upset over text messages Pemberton and a 13-year-old camper were exchanging. Pemberton says he and the girl are nothing more than family friends, and detectives confirm that none of the texts were inappropriate.
Pemberton said one of the subjects approached him and punched him in the face. He recalled being hit with a pipe and other unknown objects as well. He also said he was kicked in the ribs several times. The victim told police that he was tied to a chair at one point and beaten until he passed out.
“Next thing I know I’m getting told ‘stay awake, we’re not done with you. You have a long night ahead of you,’” Pemberton said of the attack. “I was screaming for my life, saying ‘please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.’”
He recalls hearing someone present during the attack say, “’I never saw anyone get beat that bad without dying.” He also remembers an attacker debating whether to shoot him, or let him go.
They let him live. While the crew drove him to the hospital, Pemberton kept dialing 911, hoping someone would come for him. Instead, the 911 operator just kept calling back, asking that if the caller had an emergency to call back, and if not, to lock the keypad to prevent a misdial.
Badly beaten and bruised, Pemberton was pushed out in front of the emergency room at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan. Deputies used video surveillance there to identify the suspects’ car, which they seized back at the campground.
Below is a complete statement taken from the Arapaho Camp Ground Facebook page. The post has since been deleted by Arapaho.
Lueken and the other suspects have eluded officers for several days. Even with the search for them beginning, Pemberton’s ordeal is far from over.
“Every time I go to sleep, every time I close my eyes, I feel the beating,” he said. “It’s like all over again.”
Statement from Arapaho Camp Ground's Facebook page:
"Just to let all are people know the truth will be out. We were not involved in a beating or anything that involved this event. We are resolving this shortly the 13 year old is pressing charges and the 33 year old will have his day in court. He has been in prison before and is making up what ever he can to not go back as a sex offender. Please be patient and hope the best for the girl and are integrity. We try hard to take care of are customers and look at all of you as friends. The story you are hearing is not true. Thanks Arapaho."