INVESTIGATION

An assault investigation included a short manhunt that led to the arrest of one, Licking police said.

Officers from three law enforcement agencies teamed up on a case involving and alleged assault May 6 in Licking.

Licking Police Department Chief Patrick Burton said that officers responded at about 3 p.m. after a man reported an assault at a residence on South Main Street.

Burton said the victim alleged he was assaulted by James Varnum and that he had been stabbed in the face with a knife.

A short-term manhunt was conducted with the assistance of the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and Varnum was located at a residence in Raymondville. Burton said Varnum fled on foot once law enforcement officers made contact with him, but was apprehended a short time later.

Varnum was transported to the Texas County Sheriff’s Department where a formal interview was conducted. During questioning, Varnum reportedly admitted to assaulting the victim by striking him multiple times in the face with his closed fists, causing a laceration to the victim’s face, and to fleeing from law enforcement officers after receiving a lawful request to stop.

Burton said that after officers completed the investigation, no evidence was discovered to support the allegations made by the victim regarding being stabbed with a knife.  A probable cause statement has been sent to the Texas County Prosecutor’s Office seeking felony charges of third-degree assault and resisting arrest by fleeing against James D. Varnum, 34, of Licking.

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