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Charges: Alleged kidnapper choked Willmar girl until she blacked out

Jesse James Rhoades

WILLMAR, Minn.—A 21-year-old Willmar man charged in the alleged kidnapping of a teen girl from her home is accused of handcuffing her and choking her.

Jesse James Rhoades of Willmar, appeared Monday, Oct. 8, in Kandiyohi County District Court on three felony charges: second-degree assault, kidnapping—to commit great bodily harm/terrorize and false imprisonment—intentional restraint.

Unconditional bail was set at $50,000, with conditional bail set at $25,000. Rhoades is currently in the Kandiyohi County Jail. His next court appearance is Dec. 12.

According to court documents, the 16-year-old girl told law enforcement that Rhoades, whom she knows, contacted her Oct. 4 via social media and asked if she wanted to come over and get pizza. She said she refused and then began mowing the lawn at her house.

When she started through the gate to mow the backyard, she saw Rhoades on the other side of the backyard.

The girl said she saw a knife in Rhoades' hand, and she began to run. She made it to the middle of the road when Rhoades caught up with her, and according to court documents, put a knife to her throat and began leading her back toward her yard. He also allegedly handcuffed the girl's hands behind her back, and told her the key to the handcuffs was in his vehicle.

Rhoades allegedly choked her from behind causing her to have difficulty breathing, and she eventually blacked out. When she awoke, she was lying on the ground.

Rhoades pulled the girl toward his vehicle, documents said. She started to yell when another vehicle passed, and Rhoades told her to be quiet. At his vehicle, he got the handcuff key, unlocked the handcuffs and let her go.

The girl immediately called her mother, and her mother called law enforcement.

Law enforcement located and arrested Rhoades around 5:59 p.m. Oct. 4. When questioned, Rhoades said he knew the girl but that he had been at a home in Pennock all day, and he denied seeing the girl or using handcuffs on her, court documents said.

Law enforcement searched Rhoades' vehicle and found two pairs of handcuffs, two sets of handcuff keys, a silver knife, a red knife with a curved blade, a kitchen knife, an orange box containing numerous knives, a lime-colored, carpentry-style knife and a black stocking cap.