Darrell Peak of Missouri had left his home on February 25 with his sons, Mayson and Kaiden. They never returned.
It is important to focus on mental health as a community. It is important to help the people who are struggling because it's not just them who suffer but those around them as well. We leave individuals and families to look after the mental health crisis by themselves when it should involve larger participation. One of the repercussions of not being able to remove the taboo around mental health is that people, especially men struggling from it, aren't able to open up about it.
A 40-year-old father from Missouri, who had been struggling with depression, was reported missing with his two sons since February 25. They were "last seen near the family home in Greene County" as Darrell Peak drove away with his two boys, Mayson, 3, and Kaiden, 4, "armed with the pistol he was known to regularly carry," according to a press release.
He was spotted and contacted by a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Trooper in Benton County the same evening since his vehicle had been disabled but the 40-year-old refused assistance. Around 20 minutes later, he was seen by a Benton County Deputy walking along Highway 65. "When she turned around to make contact, she was unable to locate them again and presumed they disappeared into a wooded area," said the release.
On February 25, he was seen again around 7:00 pm, and "MSHP dispatched a Trooper to the area to check on a man walking along the highway with two children. The Trooper was unable to locate them when he arrived."
Darrell's family members waited around 16 to 18 hours before contacting the authorities at the Greene County Sheriff’s Office to file missing person reports. His "family reported that Darrell had a history of depression however insisted that he would never harm his children," the statement read.
Unfortunately, the father was spotted with his two kids multiple times by authorities only before the missing person reports were filed. The authorities could have helped the family if they were aware earlier. The 40-year-old was reported as telling people at a casino in Oklahoma that he was taking money out of an ATM so he could start a new life with his boys, according to KTTS. However, he had previously made suicidal statements in the past.
On February 26 at approximately 12:58 pm, a statewide BOLO alert was sent out for the three missing persons. The "MSHP Troopers and Benton County Deputies responded and searched the areas where Darrell, Mayson, and Kaiden were repeatedly observed during the evening of February 25th." However, the three of them were not found.
Three days later, on March 1, the "bodies of all three missing persons were found together inside a structure." It was not mentioned how the three of them died and it is being assumed to be a murder-suicide.
"Greene County Detectives have worked around the clock since the report was made attempting to locate Darrell Peak and his children. Dozens of leads were generated and despite the family’s belief that Darrell would not harm his children, on February 28th Detectives decided to pursue criminal charges for the arrest of Darrell, hoping that this would generate additional tips and leads," the statement read.
"It is with much sadness that the Greene County Sheriff's Office announces a very tragic ending to the missing person's investigation involving Darrell, Mayson, and Kaiden Peak," the Sheriff's Office added.
Cover image source: Facebook / Greene County Sheriff's Office