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High-speed chase, shots fired: Details emerge in abduction of Fergus Falls mother

Anthony Randklev

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Authorities have shared more details of the Sunday afternoon abduction of a 34-year-old Fergus Falls mother who was later brought to safety.

In addition, court papers reveal the suspected kidnapper, 39-year-old Anthony Randklev, was convicted in a 2007 case in which a woman said Randklev raped her after hinting he might kill and dismember her using a saw.

According to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office, on Sunday, July 22, Randklev, who’s a registered sex offender from Pelican Rapids, entered the rural Fergus Falls home of the woman through an unlocked door carrying a gun shortly before 2 p.m.

Randklev then forcibly took the woman from the home and left with her in his pickup truck, the sheriff’s office said. The woman's four young children, who were home when the abduction occured, called the woman's husband, who then called 911.

Her children told police they thought the abductor was the same man who came to their house Saturday night asking for gas. They also believe they saw him at church that Sunday morning.

Some time after the abduction, a Pelican Rapids firefighter found Randklev’s truck by County Highway 24, east of Erhard. A Pelican Rapids police officer and sheriff’s deputies tried to pull over Randklev, but he led them on a high-speed chase through Pelican Rapids and then south on U.S. Highway 59, the sheriff’s office said.

During the chase, deputies saw a second person in the truck who they believed was the abducted woman. Officers eventually used a device to deflate Randklev’s tires, and he drove into a farm field and became stuck in a slough.

Shots were fired toward the end of the pursuit, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating that part of the incident, the sheriff’s office said. It was not immediately clear who fired the shots or whether anyone or anything was struck.

Randklev was arrested without further incident. The woman was not hurt in the pursuit, and she was taken to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo to be reunited with her family and to receive medical attention, the sheriff’s office said.

“Investigating Detectives are aware of how this incident began and ended and the time period between is being actively investigated,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in the investigation.

Randklev is being held at the Otter Tail County Jail. He had not yet been charged Monday.

Criminal history

In 2008, Randklev was found guilty of abducting and raping a Fergus Falls woman in November 2007. He took the victim’s phone and forced her to put on a ski mask as Randklev drove to a wooded area, according to Otter Tail County District Court documents that said Randklev told the victim “voices in his head told him to kill her.”

According to court documents in that case:

A woman told sheriff’s investigators that she met Randklev at a bar in early November 2007 and had known him for about two weeks when a friend of Randklev’s showed up one evening at his apartment.

She said Randklev became upset over something the friend told him and Randklev ended up telling her they needed to go in his car.

During the car ride, the woman said she tried calling 911, but Randklev became even more upset and took the batteries out of her phone.

She said he then made her put a stocking cap over her head with the eyeholes pointed backward so she couldn’t see where he was taking her.

Eventually, she said, the vehicle stopped and Randklev walked her through some woods to a place where there was a saw for cutting wood. The woman said Randklev talked about horrible things he had done to people, including chopping them up and throwing them in a river, the court documents said.

But Randklev told her “he just couldn’t do it,” and they ended up talking for about 45 minutes about things like UFOs, Bigfoot and Sasquatch, court documents say.

The woman told authorities Randklev then took her to what she believed was a hunting cabin, where he took most of her clothes off and had sex with her while she cried.

The woman said she felt she had to play along or he would leave her for dead.

She said Randklev ultimately drove her home and warned her as he dropped her off to remember what he had said earlier, which was that she had his life in her hands and he had her life in his hands.

In that case, Randklev pleaded guilty to kidnapping and second-degree assault. He was sentenced to four years and three months behind bars, a sentence he served concurrent with a six-year sentence he received for his conviction in another Otter Tail County District Court case stemming from early November 2007.

In that case, according to court records, Randklev pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and fleeing a peace officer.

Court documents state Randklev was driving a car about 90 mph when he tried to run over an officer who was attempting to place a tire deflation device in the road.

Randklev was being chased in connection with a burglary case in Grant County that involved the theft of up to a dozen guns from a home, court documents stated.

Randklev also has a conviction for aggravated assault from 2004 in Mohave County, Ariz., and a conviction for intentional assault in Arizona from 2006, according to court records.

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