Louisiana bounty hunter sentenced to 10 years in prison for Missouri kidnapping

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U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White on Wednesday sentenced a bounty hunter from Louisiana to 10 years in prison for removing a woman from a St. Peters, Missouri home and taking her across state lines against her will.

Wayne D. Lozier Jr., 45, of the New Orleans area, was convicted by a jury in September in U.S. District Court in St. Louis of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

“This sentence should reinforce that those who work in the fugitive recovery industry must comply with state and local laws and regulations and treat those they take into custody with decency,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming. “They work in a dangerous industry, but that is not a license to go rogue.”

“Wayne Lozier claimed he was just doing his job as a bounty hunter, but a jury convicted him of kidnapping. The evidence presented in the trial proved he flagrantly ignored police warnings that he was violating the law and police commands to release his victim,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg of the FBI St. Louis Division. “We commend St. Peters Police for its thorough investigation and collaboration with us in pursuing federal prosecution.”

Testimony and evidence presented at trial showed that Lozier first called and impersonated a deputy with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office to trick the victim, who had an arrest warrant there for two misdemeanor offenses, into revealing her address. Lozier and his partner, Jody L. Sullivan, then drove to where the victim was staying in St. Peters, Missouri. 

They had been hired by a Louisiana bail bond company to locate and apprehend the victim. They were not licensed by Missouri’s Department of Commerce and Insurance to operate as surety recovery agents within Missouri. They also did not notify local law enforcement before entering the home.

On May 9, 2019, Lozier told the homeowner he didn’t need her permission to enter the house, according to evidence and testimony, including video from Lozier’s body camera. Lozier went into the basement and handcuffed the victim, who was barefoot and clad only in pajamas. He and Sullivan then took her away in their SUV without her consent, the trial showed. 

The homeowner contacted the police. St. Peters Police Officer Jeffrey Atkins told Lozier on the phone that he was breaking the law and needed to return the victim, but Lozier refused to do so. 

The victim, concerned for her safety after learning that Lozier and Sullivan were not police officers, tried to get help from clerks working at a gas station in Sullivan, Missouri. Inside the store, Lozier shocked the victim multiple times with a Taser and pulled her hair. He and Sullivan then dragged the victim out of the store by the chain that connected her handcuffs and leg shackles. That incident was partially captured in a bystander’s cell phone video. When police arrived, Lozier told them that he was a surety recovery agent and was licensed by the state of Louisiana. The officers were unaware that Lozier and Sullivan had unlawfully taken the victim from the St. Peters residence earlier that day.

Once back in the SUV, Lozier repeatedly threatened the victim, both physically and by telling her that he would arrange for her to be charged with a felony offense. He told her that she would never see her children again and that she was his property, testimony and evidence at trial showed.

Worried about the legality of his actions, Lozier did not take the victim to Louisiana, where her misdemeanor charges were pending. He instead dropped her at a detention facility in Mississippi. She remained there for about a week before she was released.

After Lozier’s indictment and arrest, he violated his pre-trial release conditions by both possessing a firearm and continuing to apprehend fugitives in Louisiana. He also violated his travel restrictions by leaving the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Sullivan, 56, of the New Orleans area, pleaded guilty Sept. 18, 2023, to the conspiracy and kidnapping charges and admitted unlawfully seizing the woman and transporting her across state lines. She was sentenced on December 20 to five years of probation.
The FBI and the St. Peters Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Martin and Donald Boyce prosecuted the case.

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