CASPER, Wyo. — A teenager accused of kidnapping his stepfather in Sheridan before traveling to Casper with the man in the trunk of a car early Tuesday morning is in custody.
The case began Tuesday about 4:20 a.m. when authorities in Sheridan received a report about a possible drunk driver in the city. A short while later, authorities learned that a 17-year-old male was missing and possibly behind the wheel of the reported vehicle, Sheridan Police Lt. Chris Dahmke said in a media release.
The teenager's mother then contacted police, saying she had spoken to her son and learned that his stepfather was with him and restrained in the vehicle's trunk. She also said her son could have a firearm, according to Dahmke.
Law enforcement eventually learned that the teen might be traveling to Casper.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, a car that matched a description of the one in the Sheridan situation was involved in two hit-and-run accidents in Casper — near the intersection of Ninth and South Poplar streets and then at College Drive and South Poplar Street, according to Sgt. Steve Schulz of the Casper Police Department.
Police located the car carrying the Sheridan teenager and found his stepfather in the vehicle's trunk, according to Randy Dolberg, a detective with the Casper Police Department.
Law enforcement took the teen into custody at about 8:30 a.m. His stepfather was taken to Wyoming Medical Center, where he was treated and released, Dolberg said.
Police said a motive for the alleged kidnapping was not clear.
Initial reports indicated a possible third person — a female — was in the car as well, and police attempted to locate her. Later, the search was called off when authorities determined there was no female in the car, Dolberg said.
No weapon was found in the vehicle, which authorities would only describe as a gray, four-door compact car.
The occupants in the cars struck in the hit-and-runs were treated and released from the hospital, authorities said.
The juvenile, whom authorities declined to identify, is expected to be charged with several driving-related offenses in Natrona County Circuit Court this afternoon.
The case remains under investigation, and the teenager is expected to face charges in Sheridan County.
Several Casper schools were locked down Tuesday morning as the situation unfolded. Marty Wood, director of Student Support Services and Safe Schools for the Natrona County School District, said in an e-mail that the lockdown was called because police were searching for a woman from Sheridan who might have a pistol.
The lockdown lasted about an hour, from 10 to 11 a.m., Wood said.
Contact William Browning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-266-0534.