Man charged with kidnapping girl, keeping her in hotel room

    Elijah Kerrigan (Photo courtesy Waupaca Co. Sheriff's Office)

    WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) – A 35-year-old man who allegedly kidnapped a Shawano County teen sent a ransom text while holding her hostage in a hotel room for more than a week.

    Elijah Kerrigan faces 11 charges for allegedly kidnapping a teenage girl, holding her in a Clintonville hotel room, providing her with drugs and sexually assaulting her.

    According to the criminal complaint, the 15-year-old girl had not been seen since New Years Eve when state and federal agents met with the Shawano Police Department on Jan. 8 to investigate the girl’s disappearance.

    That morning, the girl’s mother received a text demanding $2,500. Police talked to the girl’s friends, who said she may be with Kerrigan. Investigators learned police had been called to Kerrigan's motel room the day before for the odor of marijuana. That room was registered to Kerrigan.

    Police went to the motel on Jan. 8, where staff identified the girl as staying with Kerrigan. Police entered the motel room, arrested Kerrigan, and found the teenage girl hiding under the bed.

    In an interview with police, the girl said she ran away from home on Dec. 30. She knew Kerrigan, and viewed him as a "father figure." She met with him, and he took her to the hotel, according to the complaint.

    The girl said she did drugs with Kerrigan, meth and marijuana, because it helped with her anxiety. Kerrigan made money selling drugs from the hotel room, she said, the complaint states.

    The girl also said the two also had sex. And a video was discovered on his phone showing the two engaged in a sex act, the complaint states.

    The complaint does not quote any statements by Kerrigan.

    He is charged with nine felonies, including kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, child sexploitation, false imprisonment, and drug distribution to a minor.

    FOX 11 talked with the teens mom briefly over the phone; the mom says the family is doing okay.

    Kerrigan is being held on a $50,000 cash bond. Kerrigan is expected back in court Jan. 25.

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