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Lincoln police release suspect names in kidnapping and assault case; a victim has burns to face, arms, legs

Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 01, 2022

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m.

On Monday afternoon, the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) announced the arrests of two suspects in a kidnapping, assault and sexual assault case.

Chief Theresa Ewins said that the alleged incident took place near 56th Street and I-80 on Thursday evening. Lincoln police say they were contacted by investigators in Gage County on Friday morning, about a 26-year-old man who was found walking along a road with "obvious" injuries.

The man said he was kidnapped and beaten at a warehouse in Lincoln. In a news release, LPD said: "The man reported Danielson and Widhalm took him to an area he was unfamiliar with and tied him to a tree while still bound. He was eventually able to free himself and left the area walking until finding a Gage County Sheriff’s Deputy. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries."

“Right now there were obvious injuries when the male subject was picked up in Gage County. That consists of burns to the face, the arms, the legs, and then also several abrasions,” Assistant Chief Jason Stille said.

During the investigation, according to Ewins, a second victim was revealed, That female victim was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The police chief also said that this was not random and that there isn't a danger to the public.

LPD says that Lincoln resident Austin Widhalm, 26, was arrested and taken into custody on Friday on suspicion of kidnapping, first-degree assault, use of a weapon to commit a felony, and false imprisonment.

The second suspect, Tanner Danielson, 30, was taken into custody in Rapid City, South Dakota at 2 p.m. on Monday. Danielson is also a Lincoln resident and police would not confirm the reason he was in South Dakota, but he was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. He is also accused of kidnapping, first-degree assault, use of a weapon to commit a felony, and false imprisonment.

Ewins emphasized that this case is unfolding and asked for patience from the public. She also said that they are looking for witnesses and that anyone with information can call Crimestoppers or LPD: 402-441-6000 or if they wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 402.475.3600.

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