DNR finishes cleanup of bunker where fugitive hid for more than three years

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RINGLE, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says they have finished cleaning up the bunker along the Ice Age trail where a Portage County fugitive says he hid from law enforcement for more than three years.

According to Sarah Hoye with the DNR, the area has been dismantled and cleared, and there is no threat to public safety at this time.

Investigators said Jeremiah Button, 44, had been living in the bunker and using items from the nearby landfills at the Marathon County Solid Waste Department in Ringle. Button is accused in Portage County of multiple sex crimes against children, including first-degree child sexual assault and possession of child pornography. He first disappeared just weeks before his jury trial in 2016 while out on bail, later telling deputies he built the bunker in Ringle while going through the court process.

NewsChannel 7 reported last Friday that the hunter who first led Marathon County Sheriff's deputies to the bunker had first reported it to authorities last November.

DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller stated in the press release that "Over the past several months, the Marathon County Sheriff's Office and the DNR had received sporadic and vague information on the property. The Marathon County Sheriff's Office and the DNR checked and monitored the area without locating anything or signs of illegal or suspicious activity. The individual was very intentional about not being detected or the bunker being visible or found."

MCSO deputies told NewsChannel 7 on Wednesday that they had recovered further digital evidence during cleanup, including about five laptops.

For full coverage of the bunker, click here.