Kari Swenson's kidnapping stunned the nation, and now her assailant may be on the run from police. The U.S. Marshal's Service has issued an alert for Dan Nichols, who failed to appear in court, Montana officials have reported.
Nichols is known as a "mountain man" who resides in the Montana mountains. He was due to appear in court yesterday on five counts of felony charges, including two for drug distribution, two for possession, and one for evidence tampering. Nichols may have attempted to flee, police say, and they have warned anyone who comes in contact with him to steer clear.
Nichols and his father Don Nichols were found guilty of kidnapping Olympic hopeful Kari Swenson in 1984 in order to keep her for Dan's wife. She was on a training run in the woods when the Nichols men took her captive. According to reports, the two men bound her to Dan and took her to their camp.
For the entire 18 hours she was held prisoner, Swenson was kept bound. When she asked to be released, Dan replied, "No. You're pretty. I'm going to keep you."
A search party set out to find Swenson the next day; one rescuer was shot during the ordeal, and Swenson was eventually abandoned by her kidnappers. She had been seriously injured and used the last of her strength to get to help, Sports Illustrated reported.
The two men were finally captured, and Don Nichols was sentenced to 75 years in Montana State Prison. He will be up for parole on April 27. The younger Nichols was out on bond as a result of an arrest for drug charges.
"I wouldn't want to speculate," Jefferson County attorney Matthew Johnson told reporters when asked if Nichols could be back in the mountains.
"He should definitely be considered armed and dangerous," Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Rod Ostermiller told the Associated Press. "He is obviously someone who hasn't been compliant with law enforcement in the past."
"I think there is some safety issues involved regarding this individual," he added. "That is just one thing we can't stress enough."