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Officials: Man accused of kidnapping in Portage a part of extremist group

Officials: Man accused of kidnapping in Portage a part of extremist group

  • Updated

PORTAGE | The man accused of abducting and tying up his daughter in a hotel is a self-described Sovereign Citizen, part of an anti-government group, according to a federal complaint filed Friday.

Sovereign Citizen has been -- according to "60 Minutes" -- identified by the FBI as a top domestic terrorist threat.

Martin J. Jonassen, of Missouri, has been identified in a federal complaint for kidnapping. He has also been charged in Porter County Superior Court with two counts of confinement and one count of battery, according to court records. He is being held at the Porter County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

At 21, Jonassen's daughter had never been to school and only read books about religion, history and the government approved by her father. According to the report, she had only been to see a doctor once in her life prior to the recent incident.

After his arrest, Jonassen placed about 15 recorded phone calls to whom officials believe to be his wife and sons in Missouri. He asked them on multiple occasions to deliver messages to his daughter he would give her property and a mo-ped in exchange for her recanting her statements.

"Retract her statement, that's all she's gotta do and then they ain't got nothing to get me on 'cause all they're going on is what she said, you know what I'm saying?" Jonassen said to a woman  believed to be his wife. "Otherwise, kidnapping is 20 years and the kids will be growed up and all that, just wouldn't be right."

In a letter he asked his wife to send to their daughter, Jonassen asked for forgiveness, saying, "I guess I wanted you all to myself." Jonassen also asked his sons if they "covered for" him when the FBI visited the house, and expressed concern about the family being labeled as "pervs."

The woman was allegedly kidnapped Sept. 10 from her home in Gallatin, Mo., because her father did not want her seeing an older man. As of Monday night, an attorney for Jonassen had not yet been listed in federal court records.

Someone called Portage Police to report a naked woman running down U.S. 20 on Sept. 12, according to the complaint.

The woman sprinted into a liquor store and begged the employees for help, but a shirtless man, later identified as Jonassen, ran in yelling for her. He chased the woman, knocking over beer displays and other items while trying to drag her into his maroon Dodge Stratus.

A Portage Police Officer pulled Jonassen out of his truck at gunpoint and arrested him. And the woman, later identified as Jonassen's daughter, was found huddled face up on the passenger's side floor of the vehicle, records show.

She was taken to Porter Hospital in Valparaiso and treated for bruises, cuts, scrapes and lacerations to her arms, legs, breasts, back and upper buttocks, according to a report. When an officer asked if she had been raped, she nodded yes.

In later interviews she said she did not want to talk about whether her father inappropriately touched her, but she never denied being sexually assaulted.

"I don't want the court to determine his sentence, but I want him to understand he does not have the right to force me into things against my will," she told officers at the scene.


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