It has been six weeks since Sioux Falls realtor Melissa Peskey was shot and killed while driving on Interstate 70, near Boonville, Missouri.
Peskey’s family and friends are wondering what is taking investigators so long to arrest someone for her murder.
Now a friend of Melissa Peskey has come forward with evidence that Melissa was afraid of her husband Ryan and appeared to be trying to divorce him.
Missouri State Patrol troopers were called to a car crash on Interstate 70 at 10:30 on the night of December 13. When they arrived, they found Melissa Peskey dead in the driver’s seat. An autopsy later revealed that she was shot from outside the vehicle.
Peskey’s husband, Ryan, told KELOLAND Investigates after his wife’s death that authorities informed him that he was a “person of interest” in the case. Peskey says that is because he didn’t pick up his phone the night that troopers were called to the crash scene. Peskey told us that while he did not answer his phone at 11 p.m. on December 13 when authorities called to notify him of his wife’s death, he did call them back at 2 a.m.
Now one of Melissa’s friends has come forward to say Melissa asked her to speak out if anything ever happened to her.
“I am not convinced that whoever shot her—I will put it that way—that I am safe from that person,” Melissa Peskey’s friend said.
That’s why Melissa’s friend asked KELOLAND Investigates to hide her identity. She and Melissa met through a mutual friend last year.
“It was crazy how fast we connected. We both said we had felt like we had known each other just forever,” she said.
She says Melissa also felt that she could confide in her. Ryan Peskey was a South Dakota National Guardsman.
“She told me that she had asked for a divorce from Ryan right before he went for deployment. And there were all kinds of problems from the minute she asked for the divorce, including the kids being put into the middle.”
Then in October, she got these text messages from Melissa. KELOLAND Investigates checked and the number was Melissa Peskey’s cell phone. We have blurred the names of other people mentioned in the texts.
Melissa says, “I’m not really okay”
Her friend says, “Please tell me what’s going on with you.”
Melissa replies, “Ryan will be home in two weeks and I’m terrified.”
Her friend asked if Melissa feared for her safety and suggests places for her to stay.
“So, she said, ‘I do have a place to go.’ And she mentioned it was with her friend in South Carolina and she could go there. And that’s where she felt she could go because it was further away.”
Melissa’s friend said after those texts, she had a long conversation on the phone with her.
“And it was during that conversation that she said what is making me come forward today. And that is, ‘If anything ever happens to me, you have to promise me that you will let the police know that Ryan did this?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And she said, ‘He has threatened to shoot me or kill me and if anything ever happens, you have to promise me.’ So I said, ‘Okay I will.'”
She says she told law enforcement and child protective services in Missouri about her conversations with Melissa. But she’s discouraged nothing more has happened in the case and that Ryan was granted custody of his children.
“I just want what is best for those children and if she was terrified to the point where she was staying in that relationship and she finally did flee; whether or not she was going on vacation, she was shot. It makes you wonder are those kids in the right hands. And I think somebody out there knows something that can help.”
Melissa’s friend tells us that Melissa did not want to get a protection order because she was worried it would anger her husband more. She also indicated in a text message that she was trying to find an attorney, but couldn’t afford one.
Last week, the Missouri State Highway Patrol told us they had 116 leads in the case. We could not get an update on Monday because of the holiday.
We also reached out to Ryan Peskey for reaction to what Melissa’s friend had to say, but he has not returned our calls as of 6 p.m.