A million dollar bond has been set for Jerry Melvard, who is being held in the Independence County Detention Center on charges of violating a domestic order of protection, kidnapping, rape and battery, all felonies.

On Friday the Independence County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that the Thida Post Office was unlocked and the postmaster, Teresa Melvard, was missing.

Due to recent history between Teresa and her husband, Jerry Paul Melvard, Teresa’s phone number was obtained and a phone ping was started. Once the location of the phone was established, deputies found an abandoned house, and Jerry Melvard’s pickup truck parked behind it.

Deputies made contact with Jerry, who requested an ambulance for his wife due to a gunshot injury. Chief Deputy Aaron Moody was negotiating with Jerry to get him to surrender and let Teresa go. During the negotiations, Jerry requested to speak with Sheriff Shawn Stephens alone.

Stephens entered the building to talk to Melvard, passing by a loaded rifle in the hallway. According to the affidavit for arrest, Stephens found Jerry holding a sawed-off shotgun in his left hand; there was also a knife hanging from his belt, and a knife on the floor.

Stephens urged Jerry to put the gun down and attempted to talk to Teresa about her injuries. Jerry answered on behalf of Teresa, telling Stephens the gunshot was accidental.

Stephens observed a bandage made of a sock and a sling made of a hoodie. In addition to the gunshot wound, there were wounds on Teresa’s wrists and ankles consistent with being zip-tied. There were several opened bottles of what appeared to be whiskey in the room. Teresa’s purse had been emptied onto the floor and there were several cut zip-ties on the floor. Her face was bruised and swollen.

Jerry laid the shotgun on the floor and then laid his head in Teresa’s lap as he spoke with Stephens. Eventually his eyes closed and Stephens secured Jerry and removed the shotgun.

During a search, a pistol was located in Jerry’s pocket.

A short time later, Teresa Melvard was escorted outside to an awaiting ambulance for transport to a hospital for treatment. Jerry Melvard was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the Independence County Jail awaiting formal charges.

The Independence County Sheriff’s Office is working in conjunction with the Federal Postal Inspectors and the Arkansas State Police.

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