Charges Filed In Campground Beating Case, Suspect At Large

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO (KTVI)-- Police are looking for a Sullivan man accused of brutally beating a man in Franklin County.

They are charging 32-year-old Joshua Lueken with assault and other various charges for beating up Jeffery Pemberton at Arapaho Campground.

 They say Lueken beat his co worker with a pipe and flashlight, then took him to a home, where he says they 'tied him to a chair' and continued beating him.

Pemberton was then dropped off at a hospital.

Police say Lueken has not been arrested and is still at large.


FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO (KTVI)-- A worker at a campground, beaten beyond recognition, shared his story with FOX 2 in a search for justice Tuesday.

The beatings happened near Sullivan, Missouri, early Sunday, authorities said.   

Jeff Pemberton suffered wounds to his ear, eyes, jaw, head, nose, arms, legs, and shoulder.  

He said he was experiencing partial vision and hearing loss.

He played his two voice mails on his cell phone six minutes apart from a 911 operator calling him.

Pemberton couldn’t speak.  It was all he could do, to keep dialing 911, as he said his attackers drove him from the campground to a nearby home to continue the beatings. 

“I got sucker punched in the back, when I fell this way, I got hit with a pipe,” he recalled of the initial blows.

Pemberton’s spirit was as battered as his face; beaten beyond recognition.  He seemed a paranoid, shell of who he was when the weekend started.

“Everyday I look in the mirror.  It’s just a reminder of how grotesque I look.  I feel like Shrek.  My cat won’t even look at me.  Little kids come over they’re scared to look at me,” he said, choking up.  

Authorities said he was beaten at the Arapaho Campground near Sullivan around one o’clock Sunday morning.

Pemberton said he was also taken to a home and tied to a chair, where the beatings continued;  he was then dumped at a hospital.

“I thought I was going to die. I’m still terrified for my life. I still have flashbacks.  That whole time I knew I was going to die.  I said to God, please make this pain stop, please make it go away... the last 10 punches... I didn’t feel a single punch.  You could feel the friction and the pressure, but I didn’t feel a single ounce of pain.  That’s when I figured either God did this or I’m dying,” Pemberton said.

“He was severely beaten upon the face and head area. A video surveillance from the hospital located a vehicle which tracked us down to some suspects,” said Lt. Charles Subke, of  the Franklin County Sheriff’s department.

Investigators had questioned suspects but had yet to seek charges. 

“We’re looking at an assault first case as this time which could lead to other charges... anytime someone uses an object to strike somebody upon the face and head is a serious assault,” Subke said.

“Kidnapping, end up beating somebody to death, those are serious charges aren’t they ? “ Pemberton asked.  “I  didn’t do anything wrong.”

Investigators said alcohol played a role in the attack. 

Pemberton said his attackers made the outlandish allegation that he had feelings for a 13-year-old girl.

He said she was actually a member of a family who became his friends at the campground last year, to the point Pemberton was their dinner guest, hours before the beating.

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