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The Belgrade News

Former Manhattan man accused of kidnapping 11-year old Wyoming girl

Officials mum on details of the case

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Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 6:00 am

The Manhattan man accused of kidnapping an 11-year-old Cody, Wyo. girl was arrested in Belgrade Saturday around 11:45 a.m. and booked at the Gallatin County Detention Center on $2 million bond.

Jesse Paul Speer, 39, appeared briefly before Gallatin District Court Judge Holly Brown to waive his right to extradition and face a host of felony charges including weapons, kidnapping and assault charges.  

According to the affidavit released from the Cody County Attorney’s office, On Oct. 8 at around 3:55 p.m., Speer lured the young victim to his white Toyota 4-Runner by telling her he needed help finding his lost puppy. The girl initially said she would help Speer but changed her mind. Speer then pointed a gun at the girl’s chest and told her to get in the car.

Speer pulled over and tied up the girl’s hands and told her to put her head down. When the girl refused, Speer hit her over the head with his pistol.

The girl still refused to put her head down all the way and noticed the streets leading out of town, and farm houses and eventually trees and snow on the ground in the mountains; all little details that later helped law enforcement trace Speer’s path.

Documents state that at 8 p.m. on Oct. 8, two hunters were returning from Carter Mountain, in Park County, Wyo. when they came upon a female in black Capri pants.

The men said initially they thought it was a woman exercising. As they approached, they realized it was child. The victim told the hunters she had been kidnapped and started to cry. The men gave the girl a cell phone to call her mother as they drove back to town.

While on the phone with her mother, the hunters overheard the victim saying she had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted and shown nude photos of young girls.

One of the hunters explained his reaction to the Cody Enterprise this weekend.

“To be hearing those things, your mind can’t even process it,” the hunter said. “For our boys to be sitting there, having to hear those things – you can’t imagine.”

The two grown men also had their boys, ages 12 and 15, along hunting. When the girl was recounting her harrowing tale, the boys were shocked, the Wyoming paper said.  

The hunters expressed their concern to authorities that the girl could have died of hypothermia on the mountain or been tracked by a grizzly bear if they hadn’t found her.

The affidavit goes on to chronicle how authorities tracked down Speer and arrested him in downtown Belgrade. Local businesses in Cody submitted footage of the vehicle the victim described, a Toyota 4-Runner.

Farmers, ranchers, loggers and hunters all told law enforcement they spotted a white sport utility vehicle on the rural roads of Carter Mountain. Two local high school students out hunting the day the girl was kidnapped provided police with an invaluable tip. The white SUV had Montana plates. Authorities in both Wyoming and Montana started their teamwork to find Speer.

At a press conference Monday, top officials from the Bozeman and Belgrade Police Departments and the Gallatin County Sherriff’s Office commended each other for a joint effort in apprehending Speer on Saturday but said little else.

Speer was arrested without incident in Belgrade. It wasn’t a routine traffic stop, but a “calculated effort” that led authorities to the kidnapper, law enforcement officials said but would not elaborate.

“We arrested him without incident and we are not able to release a lot of details about our roles in the investigation,” Bozeman Police Dept. Chief Rich McLane said.

Questions about Speer’s past, including living for a time in the Gallatin County and his prior convictions, if he has any, remained purposely unanswered by law enforcement.

Since waiving his right to extradition, Speer will be transported to Wyoming to face the legal system in Cody. Sheriff Brian Gootkin said the Cody Police Department has 30 days to collect Speer, but he anticipates they will do it much sooner.

For each of the charges against him, Speer faces up to 10 or 20 years in prison and hefty fines.

© 2015 The Belgrade News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1 comment:

  • TWG posted at 2:31 pm on Thu, Oct 18, 2012.

    TWG Posts: 20

    I'm so relieved they found and arrested this vermin and that the victim is alive.

    Forty two years ago, when I was six years young, I was walking alone along a well traveled street in Seattle, WA. I don't recall where I was coming from, but I was on my way home. About three blocks from my house, there was a car pulled alongside the road with a man and a dalmation puppy inside. The man got out of his car and asked me if I wanted to pet the puppy in the back seat and I told him no thank you. He had a bag of candy in the front seat and asked me if I wanted some of it, and since I was not allowed to eat candy, I told him no thank you. He then pointed to a braided ponytail of human hair that was hanging from the rearview mirror and asked if I wanted it for my own.

    I have no idea whatsoever why, but for some reason at that point I figured out something was very wrong and scary about that situation and I ran home. For some reason, I had memorized the license plate of the vehicle and told my parents what had happened.. They called the police and I was interviewed, but I have no idea whatever happened afterward. If they caught the guy, or if he got away.

    At six years old, and in those days (42 yrs ago) when these things just didn't commonly happen, I don't now how, or why, I was able to get away, but I often wonder what would have happened to me had I trusted that strange man with the puppy, candy and pony tail and gotten into his car. Something tells me I wouldn't be here today.

    I Thank God that child is alright. My prayers go out to her that she is able to recover from this nightmare.


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