Posted: Oct 16, 2012 1:37 PM by Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The ex-wife of a Montana man charged with kidnapping and assaulting an 11-year-old girl has asked a judge to issue an emergency order granting her sole custody of their two young children.
Maleesha Kovnesky filed the motion Monday in Gallatin County District Court, the same day Jesse Speer agreed to return to Cody, Wyo., to face charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and felony use of a weapon.
Kovnesky said in the handwritten request that it is in the best interest of the children - ages 7 and 4 - to be under their mother's custody while Speer is facing the charges.
"I am asking for sole custody of my children for at least the next year. If Jesse is found not guilty we can revisit the plan in the future," she wrote.
Kovnesky, who lives in Whitehall, Mont., did not have an immediate comment when contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Police say Speer lured a Cody girl to his SUV on Oct. 8 by saying he needed help finding a missing puppy, then forced her inside by pointing a pistol at her. He drove her outside of town, assaulted her and abandoned her, according to the charging documents.
The girl was found by hunters driving through the mountainous area.
Speer was arrested Saturday in Belgrade, Mont., 10 miles from his Manhattan home. He waived his right to an extradition hearing Monday and is awaiting transfer to Wyoming.
Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric, the prosecutor in Cody, said a court hearings has not yet been set. Transportation issues were being worked out between law enforcement authorities in Wyoming and Montana.
Cody Police Chief Perry Rockvam said Monday the investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are to be filed.
The girl said she saw stacked photographs of naked young girls in Speer's vehicle, according to the charging documents.
Speer previously lived in Bozeman, Colorado and Kansas, and law enforcement officials in Colorado were investigating whether he may have been involved in any unsolved abductions or attempted abductions.
Associated Press reporters Ben Neary in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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