A criminal on the run for months from charges that he sexually abused a young girl in central Minnesota for many years had a touch of frostbite when he was caught after crashing his vehicle in a ditch, authorities said.
Brian S. Schmitz, 43, of Willmar, Minn., was apprehended Wednesday about 9:15 a.m., more than four hours after a Kandiyohi County sheriff’s deputy spotted a vehicle in a ditch off a private drive about 7 miles north of Willmar, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Footprints in the snow from the vehicle led the deputy to a nearby home and then to an open field, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
With the help of county rescue personnel and an ATV, Schmitz was found near Solomon Lake, 3 to 4 miles from his vehicle, said Sheriff Daniel Hartog.
Schmitz was taken by ambulance to Rice Hospital in Willmar, treated for a modest amount of frostbite and then jailed.
A warrant was out for Schmitz’s arrest on charges of failing to pay child support and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Schmitz was charged in Stearns County in October with sexually abusing a girl in a Lynden Township home starting when she was 5 and continuing until last May when she was 13.
The complaint said a woman who is the mother of his two children said Schmitz had been living out of his car.
Schmitz’s criminal history in Minnesota spans more than 20 years and includes numerous convictions for domestic assault, two for drunken driving and others for theft and receiving stolen property.