ORR — A female kidnapping victim has been located after a high-speed chase from International Falls to Orr Tuesday, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.
The kidnapping was first reported to the International Falls Police Department around 5 p.m. after the victim was allegedly forced into a white van by a man brandishing a gun. She had a prior relationship with the man, the news release said.
Regional law enforcement officials began a search for the vehicle, which was located around 8:30 p.m. heading south on Highway 53 near Kabetogama Lake.
A pursuit began and speeds reached up to 80 mph before deputies used stop sticks, which damaged the van’s wheels. However, the pursuit continued with the suspect waiving a gun out the van’s window and the vehicle eventually pulled into a motel parking lot in Orr.
The van eventually stopped and officers in several vehicles surrounded the vehicle.
The kidnapping victim exited the passenger side door and fled to a wooded area where law enforcement located her a short time later. She was taken for evaluation at Essentia Health-Virginia.
At about the same time the victim fled the vehicle, officers heard a single gunshot from inside the van and then observed the suspect with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The man was subsequently airlifted to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth for treatment of life-threatening injuries. Investigators located a handgun inside the van.
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension personnel were en route to Orr early Wednesday to process the scene.
No officers were injured during the incident and no officers discharged their weapons, the news release stated.
The investigation of the incident is being led by the International Falls Police Department.
Law enforcement with the International Falls Police Department, Koochiching and St. Louis County sheriff’s offices, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, the Paul Bunyan Violent Crime Enforcement Team, the Headwaters Safe Trails FBI Task Force and the Lake Superior Drug Task Force took part in the pursuit.