LOQUET, Minnesota (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- On Thursday evening, HLN's Nancy Grace spotlighted the case of Wyatt Nordrum, the 7-year-old autistic boy who went missing from Cloquet, Minnesota, revealing a text message was received from the boy this week.
Wyatt has been missing for 12 days. It is believed he was abducted by
his father, James Leon Nordrum Jr., 41, who had allegedly lost custody
of his son to the boy's mother, Candice Norstrum.
Candice allegedly moved to Canada to live closer to her parents because she feared her estranged husband. The Duluth News Tribune reports a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Norstrum's cousin, Amy Hill, said during an interview on The Nancy
Grace Show that their family received a text message from Wyatt's
cellphone Tuesday that read: "Hello, how are things going?"
She said there has been no other contact from Wyatt or James to her family since then.
Police say James has prior mental health issues and had indicated he would harm Wyatt if he lost custody, KARE 11
reports. According to reports, James said if he couldn't have Wyatt,
nobody else could. Hill says the statement is false but gave no reason
as to how she came to that conclusion.
Lt. Lukovsky said he learned about the text from Wyatt's phone
Thursday morning and that investigators are checking on the source of
the text, which was allegedly sent midday Tuesday.
Lukovsky said Wyatt has a cellphone because of the ongoing custody and visitation issues between his parents.
The Duluth News Tribune reports
that Candice was granted custody of Wyatt last month after attorneys
for both parents came to an agreement. The couple had been involved in a
custody battle since January 2011, with custody going back and forth
between father and mother. Nordrum was supposed to drop Wyatt off at the
St. Louis County Courthouse on March 27 but never showed.
Police have issued a statewide alert for the father and son and say
no one has heard from them since they didn’t show up at the courthouse.
Police say they do not know what type of vehicle Nordrum might have
used to flee the area. All of his and his family’s vehicles have been
accounted for, St. Louis County Deputy Lt. Jason Lukovsky said Thursday.
Officers say they are following a possible lead from central
Minnesota where the father and son might have been spotted last week.
That lead might offer a vehicle description, “but other than that, we
just don’t have any real good information,” Lukovsky said.
“If we can get a vehicle description, we have something more we can
get out there to the media and the public and to other law enforcement
agencies to go on,” he said. “We really don’t want people to forget
these faces. We want to keep this out there so someone recognizes them.”
Ground and aerial searches on properties owned by James and his
father in the Brookston area were performed this week yielded nothing to
help in the investigation.
Police said no credit card transactions or cellphone activity has
been traced from Nordrum, other than Wyatt’s text, that would aid in
finding the father and son.
Lukowsky said speaking on the Nancy Grace show wasn’t ideal,
especially after he learned his remarks were sandwiched between comments
from both sides in a heated custody battle. He is, however, hoping the
national exposure will help in the investigation.
“It got the pictures out there,” Lukowsky said. “That was my only
motivation.” Photos of Wyatt and James were displayed throughout most of
St. Louis County officers were sent to James’ home looking for Wyatt.
They said it appeared he had vacated the home, taking clothing with
them. Police initially believed Wyatt’s paternal grandfather, James
Nordrum Sr. may have been involved and were also searching for him. The
search was called off when he was located, Northland News Center reports.
James Leon Nordrum Jr. is described as 225 pounds and 5’6” tall.
Anyone who sees James and Wyatt or who have information about this case are asked to call 911.
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