Man charged with 12 felonies in Wis. abductions
By ROBERT IMRIE Associated Press Writer
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. — A paper mill worker accused of abducting and sexually assaulting two men was charged with 12 felonies Friday, and authorities said he told an investigator "he knew what he did was wrong."
A judge found probable cause for a preliminary hearing for 46-year-old Edward Lanphear.
Police say Lanphear held two men in his house, stripped them, chained them up, beat them and assaulted them several times. One of the men told police Lanphear threatened him with a gun.
Police said that after one of the men escaped early this week, the other was found in the basement of Lanphear's home in a rural area outside Wisconsin Rapids, in the central part of the state.
Lanphear faces felony counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, substantial battery, and misdemeanor impersonating a peace officer. He's being held in lieu of $1 million bond.
Lanphear, 46, said little when he appeared in court by video conference Friday afternoon, and his attorney declined to comment on the charges. Lanphear remains in jail on $1 million bond.
Investigators have been searching Lanphear's home but have found no evidence of other crimes committed there, Wood County Sheriff Thomas Reichert said.
According to a criminal complaint, Lanphear picked up a 23-year-old weary from a night of drinking as the man sat at a curb Friday. Lanphear then allegedly hit the man over the head and abducted him. He kidnapped a 21-year-old man early Tuesday morning after the man got drunk at a Wisconsin Rapids bar and passed out in his truck, the complaint said.
Lanphear chained both men naked in his home, blindfolded them with duct tape and sexually assaulted them, the complaint said.
The 23-year-old told investigators Lanphear put what felt like a shotgun to his face at one point. He said he also heard a gunshot and smelled gunpowder and Lanphear told him, "This is just to let you know I'm serious," the complaint said.
The 21-year-old told investigators he was able to escape Tuesday night because he asked Lanphear for a cigarette and Lanphear left the home to buy some, the complaint said.
The man said he removed his blindfold, dragged a ladder close enough so he could use it to climb to the ceiling in the garage, got out of his restraints and ran naked next door to seek help, the complaint said.
Lanphear returned as officers were talking to the man, the complaint said.
When officers went to Lanphear's home, he had the 23-year-old get dressed and brought him from the basement, Reichert said. He said there was no evidence Lanphear intended to kill the men and that he had talked to one of them about possibly releasing them.
Lanphear spoke with one sheriff's deputy and told him "that he knew what he did was wrong," the complaint said.
He has since stopped speaking to investigators and asked for an attorney, so investigators do not have a complete statement from him, Reichert said.
So far, authorities have collected more than 100 pieces of evidence, including chains, restraints, handcuffs and guns, Reichert said.
The two men were home with their families Friday, recovering from bruises and cuts and the emotional ordeal of a "truly nightmarish" incident, the sheriff said. He called them heroes for doing what they needed to do to survive.
"They were subjected to some things that boggle your mind," Reichert said.
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