Manhunt underway for suspect accused of abducting Walmart employee from Mukwonago

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MUKWONAGO -- There is a manhunt underway in Eau Claire County for a suspect who allegedly abducted a Walmart employee from Mukwonago early on Monday, June 8th.

Mitchell Owens

Mitchell Owens

Police are looking for 24-year-old Mitchell Owens -- a man they consider armed and dangerous.

Officials say around 5 a.m. Monday, they received a call from a Walmart store about a missing 21-year-old female employee. Surveillance video showed a gray car approach the woman. A man got out of the car holding a rifle or shotgun -- and then forced the woman into the car.

"We got a call from Walmart that they were missing an employee," Village of Mukwonago Police Lt. Daniel Streit said.

The female employee never came back from her third-shift break.

"They checked their surveillance video and they saw a vehicle pull up and it was only on the screen for about two seconds, but they saw a man get out and he appeared to have a long gun, and she hadn`t been seen since," Lt. Streit said.

Suspect in Mukwonago abduction case

Police were apparently able to track the car through the woman’s cell phone. She had been texting her boyfriend short messages like "help" -- and through those they discovered the hostage and suspect were near Eau Claire.

"The last location that we knew where she was, or where her phone was, was in the Eau Claire area," Lt. Streit said.

Just as police got a cell phone tower ping from the Eau Claire area, the woman was able to use a fuel stop to make a break for freedom.

"As the gas station, she was able to get out of the car, ran to a truck for safety," Lt. Streit said.

Manhunt in Eau Claire Co. (Credit: WEAU-TV)

Manhunt in Eau Claire Co. (Credit: WEAU-TV)

The woman is now safe with Eau Claire police.

The male suspect was able to elude police -- speeding off from the gas station and heading toward Olson Drive. He's still on the loose. Based on tweets by the Eau Claire Sheriff's Office the suspect may be in the Town of Seymour.

"He is an acquaintance of hers, and she was targeted by him," Lt. Streit said.

Lt. Streit says the woman in this case did everything she should have done in an attempt to get to safety.

"If you have an opportunity to get away and get out of the car -- do whatever it takes. Our victim did great. I can't wait to meet her and tell her what a great job she did. She did awesome," Lt. Streit said.

In Eau Claire, as the search for Owens continues, police have evacuated 16 homes in a square mile area where he was last seen.

Stop sticks were deployed on Owens' vehicle as he led law enforcement on a chase after leaving the gas station. Police say Owens may have fired at least two shots before he disappeared into a wooded area.

Law enforcement officials won't say what Owens' relationship is with the woman he allegedly abducted.

Seven agencies have been involved in the search for Owens, including K9 officers and a plane and helicopter.

Law Enforcement held a perimeter overnight to include aircraft deployment attempting to locate Owens.

Owens was last seen wearing a black long sleeved shirt, green baseball cap, blue jeans, and tan shoes. Owens may also have some facial hair. Anyone who sees Owens should use caution and immediately call 9-1-1.

All citizens are asked to remain vigilant, cautious and report any suspicious activity to the non-emergency Communications Center number at 715-839-4972.

Law enforcement is asking all residents who have been displaced from their home due to this situation to call the Eau Claire Communications Center at 715-839-4972 to make arrangements for their return.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

17 comments

  • Heidi

    I find the other comments to be very disrespectful and in very poor taste. WILSON and EXLONGHAULER I hope this never happens to you or one of your loved ones, but rest assured that if it does, I will be the first one to post distasteful comments and laugh at your plight.

    • Wilson

      Take a chill pill heidi and relax a bit. I am laughing at you right now skank!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!

      • Laurie Zarkou

        Sounds like to me that Wilson is rather psychotic to me and is rather enjoying the attention he is getting.. People like Wilson seem to enjoy saying inappropriate things especially when someone else has been hurt in some way, I imagine he does not have the vocabulary or thought process for much else as proven by his post.. Calling people names just makes him look like the small little man that he is.. And I am glad that this woman was smart enough to get out of that car the way she did..

  • s holmes

    I wonder if Walmart understands that they can require a no guns policy for employees but can also be sued for this as the law clearly explains. She should have a 5 million dollar lawsuit for this incident.

  • Bridget

    Mitch is a good guy with an intense struggle with depression. His family and friends are worried and terrified for him. I hope he gets the help he needs and I’m very glad the young woman who got kidnapped is okay!

    • Bill

      Good guys don’t kidnap people, at gunpoint or otherwise. Depression is no excuse. I hope this POS gets what he deserves. Gun him down!

      • Bridget

        I sure hope you are perfect sir, that is the only way you would be qualified to determine someone’s fate.

      • Stuart

        I’m glad that Bill isn’t heading the search, seeing his well informed opinion and proposed approach. Fortunately this government is set up in a way that helps ensure people have rights and are treated fairly (though on occasion that doesn’t seem to quite happen) so that even citizens with odd or radical opinions/ ideas like Bill are treated fairly according to their actions. I’m happy the world isn’t as black and white as Bill sees it.

      • Stuart

        Bridget I cannot disagree more. Perfection or lack of wrong doing is not a qualification to pass judgment. Simply because someone has not committed the same crime, or any, doesn’t mean they have the right to freely condemn others for their actions.

    • Barb

      For someone who has never dealt with depression they have no clue how bad things can get. A person can do and say things that are so wrong. And yes even good people! So for the person who is saying this is not an excuse……no one said it was, but you have no understanding of what depression can do to a person

  • Stuart

    Hope this gets resolved as safely and as soon as possible, glad she got away as soon as she did and that this isn’t a hostage situation. My one question though, why do the officers need a BearCat armored vehicle? What strategic value does it offer the police in this specific situation where the suspect is in a wooded area where the vehicle cannot go? The militarization of the police force is a concerning, this type of military equipment has the tendency to escalate already highly intense civilian suspect situations. On top of that, have these officers received training to utilize this armored vehicle to its fullest strategic value, training on par to that in the military? The military equipment purchased by local law enforcement just comes across as high budget toys for the officers.

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