Manhunt for Jackson Co. man ends in arrest

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JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- Deputies have been working around the clock over the last couple days, searching for any sign of 57-year-old Brian Helgeson and his son, 20-year-old Lars Helgeson.

But on Wednesday, some big developments that all started in the afternoon. Deputies got a tip about the stolen vehicles Lars was seen in.

"We didn't even make a traffic stop, we were just gonna make contact with him and it turned out to be a situation where fled the vehicle," said Sheriff Duane Waldera, the Jackson County Sheriff.

Police tried catching up to him on foot but he got away. Then, a big break around 6:00 p.m.

"He presented himself to a citizen and due to whatever circumstances we don't even know yet, Lars basically said that's enough for today, we've put the chase on long enough and gave up," Waldera said.

Deputies took him into custody without incident. Waldera says they are still talking with Lars. As for the whereabouts of his father, Brian, Waldera says they are still looking for information about that.

"We're not ruling anything out right now, we're spending a lot of time at the residence because of the information we received," he said. "It's one of those things where we can make assumptions but the night has already gotten dark, we've got people that will be coming back tomorrow again," he said.

A press conference is planned for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

Sheriff’s Authorities Capture Person of Interest in Missing Person Case.

After an extensive manhunt today (9/25/13), authorities in Jackson County have taken a person of interest into custody in a missing person’s case.

Sheriff Duane Waldera reports in a news release that just prior to 6:00 PM; today’s date, sheriff’s deputies arrested Lars Helgeson in connection with a felony stolen vehicle and as a person of interest in the missing person’s case of his father Brian Helgeson of rural Hixton.

Earlier this date, deputies acting on a citizen tip were able to find a reported stolen Chevy Suburban reported stolen several days earlier near the Helgeson residence. Upon contacting the stolen vehicle a WM subject believed to be Lars Helgeson was spotted fleeing into a wooded area. Sheriff’s deputies from Jackson County, Trempealeau County along with the Wisconsin State Patrol flooded the area as well as special agents from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Fixed winged aircraft was also dispatched to assist in the search for the individual and provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol.

According the Sheriff Waldera, while deputies stepped up the search as light began to fade; a citizen reported he spotted what he believed to be a juvenile walking down the roadway near his house with his hands raised in the air. Area deputies converged on the scene and arrested the subject without incident. The subject was identified as Lars Helgeson. Helgeson offered no resistance in the arrest and was found unarmed at the time of his arrest.

Authorities continue to investigate this matter as Lars Helgeson was transported to the Jackson County Jail where he will be held on felony charges of vehicle theft.

More information to follow when same becomes available.


HIXTON, Wis. (WEAU) - A man investigators have been searching for is now in custody. Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department confirmed they caught Lars Helgeson.

On Monday, deputies were called to a home south of Hixton in Jackson County after a family member said Brian Helgeson, 57, had not been seen for more than a week. Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera said earlier that Lars Helgeson, 20, was considered a person of interest and may have been armed and dangerous.

As of 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night, investigators have not said when or where Lars Helgeson was found, only that a farmer saw him walking down a road with his hands in the air and he was taken into custody without incident after that.

There's no word right now on the location or condition of Brian Helgeson.

Friends said it's unlike Brian Helgeson not to be in contact with anyone for more than a day.

“Nothing's really adding up to where Brian's at,” friend and neighbor Lynn Wilkinson Hurst said.

Wilkinson Hurst said she knew something was wrong, when Brian didn't answer his phone or return voicemails.

“You didn't go a day without hearing from Brian. You just didn't,” she said.

So she along with her boyfriend Steve Hodge went to his home south of Hixton where even more questions came up, she said. She saw Lars Helgeson, hiding.

“He was under the table, which he told us he was choking on an egg. My opinion was his eyes would've been watering, so it just didn't seem right,” Wilkinson Hurst said.

She said it's unlike Brian to leave without saying anything.

“It just doesn't make sense because nobody has seen him. He should be somewhere. To me, if he's gone, the bike should be gone. If he's gone and we're making a big mountain out of a mole hill, the bike should be gone.”

After Lars left the home, she said she's doing some investigating of her own, but won't buy into any rumors.

“Trying to keep a level head, talk about things he did, and see, we know these people he hung out with, was there more? Is there more?”

“I try not to think about it, as into what happened, because everybody can speculate. We've heard so many rumors about this has happened and this has happened, and until that family calls and tells us what's happened, I ain't spreading a rumor. Because I’d rather know from them what really happened."

She has a message for her kind and caring friend who loved to ride his motorcycle.

“If (Brian is) out there, let somebody know you're out there. Somehow.”


A father and son have disappeared and one is now considered armed and dangerous.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to Brian Helgeson's home south of Hixton, to check on him after he hadn’t been seen for more than a week.

Sheriff Duane Waldera said family members went to the home Monday, and said they saw someone crouching in the home, trying not to be seen.

After calling for help, an Emergency Response Team could not find Brian Helgeson, 57, or his son, Lars Helgeson, 20, who deputies believe fled the area.

“His state of mind was in question and we always want to, because of the situation err on the side of caution, and that's what we did,” Waldera said.

The sheriff's department called it a missing person's case, but they're securing the area, until they know more about what happened.

“We have people at the scene, canvassing areas, we've had people meet with the families and try to find last known locations, stuff like that. Because when this happens, when info comes in you have to act on it as soon as you can,” he said.

Lars Helgeson is considered armed and dangerous, and officers think he's in a 1980 Chevy Suburban with the license plate number: 589DEW.

“We have some background info that says you might want to use caution, even as a friend or family member, you just don't know what he's thinking right now,” Waldera said.

“We've had missing persons develop into nothing, or something extreme, but we've got to make sure we do everything right, from the start.”

Neighbors said they were asked to leave their homes when the search began.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Lars or Brian Helgeson is asked to contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at (715)284-5357.


On Monday, September 23, 2013 the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was contacted shortly after 6:00 PM, regarding a welfare check on a 57 year old resident of Hixton Township who has not been heard from for some time.

Initial information gathered by authorities, revealed that BRIAN HELGESON had not been heard from for over a week and family was becoming concerned. BRIAN HELGESON also shared his residence with his 20 year old son, LARS HELGESON. The caller, a family member, stated that she had drove out to the residence to check on BRIAN and received no answer at the door.

The complainant told authorities that when she looked into a window of the home she saw a person crouching down and attempting to avoid detection. The complainant immediately left the residence and notified authorities.

Jackson County deputies immediately responded to the residence and also received no answer. The Sheriff’s Office activated that department’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and subsequently found no one inside the residence or initial evidence of foul play.

Concerns were also evident to the welfare of LARS HELGESON as this party was not on the property as well. Investigating deputies were however able to establish through a series of interviews that LARS HELGESON is safe based upon recent contact(s) with friends.

Authorities at this time have been unable to find LARS HELGESON. He has made no effort to contact law enforcement and reports indicate that LARS may be mentally unstable. Reports also indicate that LARS HELGESON is armed with two firearms.

LARS HELGESON is being considered a person of interest in this investigation. Authorities based on the information they have collected believe LARS HELGESON is armed and should not be approached by anyone other than law enforcement officials.

Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera did state that this is an active missing person’s investigation and that foul play has not been ruled out at this time.

LARS HELGESON may also be operating a reported stolen vehicle, a 1980 Chevy Suburban with plate 589DEW. That vehicle is brown in color.

Sheriff Waldera urges anyone with information as to the whereabouts of BRIAN HELGESON or LARS HELGESON to immediately contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 1-715-284-5357.

This is an ongoing investigation. Further information regarding this incident will be forthcoming, once information becomes available.
BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --A sheriff's department is looking for two missing people: a man and his son.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is looking for Brian Helgeson, 57, of Hixton and his son, Lars Helgeson, 20, also of Hixton. The department was at their home on Green Acres Road Tuesday afternoon. A deputy could be seen at the property on a four-wheeler, and tape that reads "Sheriff's Line" is blocking off the back entrance to the property and is near the house. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says the father has been missing for nearly a week. His family recently went to the house to check on him. When they looked inside, they saw what they believe was someone crouching. Investigators responded, and surrounded the house, but didn't find anything inside. Deputies say they're at the house to keep other out as they continue investigating.

The sheriff's department says they have no evidence that a crime was committed, but are not ruling anything out right now. The department says it considers Lars Helgeson to be armed and dangerous. They ask that nobody talks to him, and if you see him, call the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. The department expects to release more information this afternoon.