Suspect in kidnap, assault of Wyoming girl appears in court

A Montana man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Wyoming girl appeared in federal court in Bozeman on Monday and said he would not fight extradition.

Jesse Paul Speer, 39, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation late Saturday night. He was held on $2-million bond pending extradition to face charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and felony use of a firearm, Gallatin County Detention Center officials told the Los Angeles Times.

He didn’t enter a plea and waived his right to an extradition hearing, the Associated Press reported.

Police said they’d found surveillance footage of a white Toyota 4Runner in Cody, Wyo., around the time of the crime. The 11-year-old victim and a friend had been approached by a man who said he needed help finding his puppy, police said.


The girl told police that her abductor had whitish hair and facial hair. Photos from the arraignment showed Speer with dark hair and a light beard.

Police said when the victim got close to his 4Runner — which had a mattress in the back — he pulled out a gun and forced her to get in. Police said he hit her in the head with a gun when she tried to lift her head while he was driving out of town.

“The victim told the suspect that she knew that he was going to rape her, and the suspect responded that she wasn’t going to get hurt,” Cody Police Chief Perry Rockvam told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

A few hours later, hunters found the lightly dressed girl walking alone along the mountain road at night in 30-degree weather.

“She said, ‘A man kidnapped me, and he let me go,’ ” one of the hunters, Shane Larsen, told the Cody Enterprise. “When you hear something like that, your mind just goes numb.”

Police said they’d spotted a 4Runner with Speer’s license plate entering Yellowstone National Park the day before the abduction. In another piece of footage, police said, a blue line in the frame of his eyeglasses matched a description the girl had given to police.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin told the AP that Speer had most recently been living in Manhattan, about 20 miles west of Bozeman.

Authorities have said the case is not connected to the Colorado killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway, whose body was found last week.


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