Man charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting Chippewa County teen

22-year-old Trevor Blackburn was charged Wednesday in Chippewa County Circuit Court.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 9:55 AM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - The 22-year-old man accused of kidnapping a Chippewa County teenager, triggering an Amber Alert, is charged Wednesday with multiple felonies.

Trevor Blackburn was charged with seven counts of 1st-degree sexual assault with a child under the age of 16 with the use or threat of force or violence, one count of kidnapping, one count of strangulation and suffocation and one count of burglary of a building or dwelling.

The charges and criminal complaint were filed on Wednesday in Chippewa County Circuit Court, according to online court records. Cash bond was set at $1 million with conditions that Blackburn not contact the victim, a 15-year-old girl, or the victim’s family.

According to the criminal complaint filed with the charges, the teenager was taken from her home by a person in the early morning hours of Oct. 1. The victim said she knew the person was Blackburn. Investigators said that they were aware that the teenager was the victim of blackmail in the form of explicit digital material of the teen, which the victim said had been sent to Blackburn after he threatened her, her family and her pets. The victim told investigators that Blackburn said he had a gun during the time the teenager was taken from her home.

In court documents filed with the charges, the victim said that Blackburn sexually assaulted her several times in multiple locations, including a ditch, a deer stand and a treehouse. Blackburn also repeatedly struck and choked the teenager in an attempt to keep her from running away. The victim told investigators that Blackburn was getting more violent with each assault, eventually taking her into the woods, where the victim said she fell asleep at some point. When she woke up, Blackburn was not around, so she went to a home to call law enforcement.

Blackburn was taken into custody on the evening of Oct. 2 after a traffic stop in Douglas County, or about 100 miles north-northwest of Chippewa County, ending the Amber Alert. Law enforcement pinged Blackburn’s cell phone to track him down. Blackburn was arrested after being found in the back seat of a vehicle that had two other people in it.

The teenage victim was found safe after showing up at the home, located in the Cornell area, on Oct. 2 before Blackburn’s arrest, Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk said. The victim was reported missing by her father on Oct. 1. Kowalczyk said that the victim and the suspect, Blackburn, had been talking to each other online, but that the victim tried ending their connection. Kowalczyk said that the Sheriff’s Office had been investigating Blackburn, who was most recently living in Tennessee, since last summer due to the communications.

Chippewa County DA Wade Newell said that Blackburn had been blackmailing and threatening the victim during Tuesday’s court appearance to set bond of Blackburn, who appeared by video from the Chippewa County Jail. Newell said that as there were more threats, it progressed to the point where Blackburn crossed state lines to abduct the victim. Newell said that federal prosecutors could file additional charges due to Blackburn’s alleged pre-abduction behavior.

According to court documents, Blackburn told investigators that he left Tennessee to see the teenage girl and admitted to blackmailing her and engaging in sexual activity with her. He also told investigators he was aware she was a child. In addition to the sexual assault, strangulation and kidnapping charges, the criminal complaint states that Blackburn broke into a home in the Town of Ruby in Chippewa County on Oct. 2 and stole approximately $2,000 and ate some snacks. Deputies noted that a window screen appeared to be pushed out of place. During Blackburn’s interview with law enforcement, he told investigators that he broke into a home and stole money, and ate snacks while he was inside of the home.

Blackburn appeared in court on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., according to online court records. The maximum penalty for the most serious charges, the seven counts of 1st-degree sexual assault of a child, each carry a maximum 60-year prison sentence in Wisconsin.

Blackburn’s next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.

UW-Eau Claire Criminal Justice professor Justin Patchin said that parents can use this incident to speak with their children about online communication. Patchin said if something seems off, to get help and talk to a trusted friend or adult. Additional information on cyberbullying and safe internet behavior can be found on the Cyberbullying Research Center website.