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Woman texts for help as alleged abductor heads west on I-94

ELK MOUND, Wis. -- A 19-year-old Whitehall woman allegedly held against her will by a man she met online was found unharmed Tuesday afternoon near Elk Mound, and a suspect was taken into custody.

Sgt. William Berger said that at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Eau Claire communications center received information that a woman was being held in a black Chevrolet Equinox traveling west on Interstate 94 near Eau Claire.

The woman had limited communications and was texting for help, the patrol said. Troopers were stationed along I-94 between Eau Claire and Hudson in an effort to locate the vehicle.

The woman convinced the suspect that she needed to use the restroom at the next exit and communicated that she was in a restroom at the Holiday Gas Station near an Elk Mound exit.

Responding officers located the vehicle at the station near Exit 59. The woman was found unharmed inside, the patrol said, and a 32-year-old man from Edina, Minn., was arrested near the vehicle.

The patrol said the man and woman met online and communicated via the Internet.

The suspect was turned over the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating.