Mukwonago Walmart kidnapping suspect Mitchell Owens found dead
A man wanted for abducting a woman from an area Walmart has been found dead.
More than 200 officers from over 30 law enforcement agencies worked for nearly 30 hours to capture Mitchell Owens alive.
\"We kept telling him to come out early on,\" said Sheriff Ron Cramer, Eau Claire County. \"It's the sheriff's department. We have you surrounded, come out.\"
But Owens, 24, never responded to those orders. Sheriff Cramer believes the suspect been dead since Monday afternoon.
\"At a certain point with the chopper going over, that's when a shot rang out, and we didn't know at that point if he was shooting at the helicopter or took his own life,\" he said. \"That's where we're hoping the Department of Criminal Investigation can hopefully give us some clarity in this.\"
Owens was found in a heavily wooded area with a rifle. It's believed to be the same weapon seen in surveillance pictures from the Walmart parking lot in Mukwonago.
That is where Owens is accused of kidnapping a 21-year-old woman while on her break. Authorities said the two once worked together.
\"It's an unusual abduction,\" added Sheriff Cramer.
The victim managed to escape hours later and more than 200 miles in Eau Claire County.
The sheriff said her description of the suspect helped track Owens down. Deputies chased him until he crashed his car and ran into the woods in the Town of Seymour.
Nearby residents were evacuated.
\"We were fearful if he broke into a residence and still had that rifle and take another hostage or abduct someone else,\" Sheriff Cramer said.
A final decision Tuesday morning to send a tactical team in the woods finally brought the hours-long manhunt to an end and some closure to the victim.
\"Nothing will go to court,\" said Sheriff Cramer. \"We want to protect the victim because she has been traumatized.\"
In a statement, the victim's family said, \"we offer our condolences to the family of Mitchell Owens. As parents, we know this is devastating for them. We ask you to please respect our request for privacy.\"
The Eau Claire County Sheriff said this was a costly endeavor for them, but it had to be done for public safety.
The case remains under investigation.