A 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student who disappeared early Saturday has been found alive, and police are searching for an armed suspect whom they believe is contained in the area where she was found.
Audrey Ruth Seiler, a sophomore from Rockford, Minn., had been missing since around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, when she was caught on a video surveillance camera leaving her off-campus apartment building in Madison, police said. No one else was seen on the tape.
"Audrey was overjoyed to return back to us, just relieved, glad to be warm, to see her friends and family, a bit surprised at the really big hullabaloo, but other than that she's just content right now," said her father, Keith Seiler.
Police in Madison said Seiler was found in marshy area near a hotel. Someone working in a nearby office building had called police after spotting her.
Officer Shannon Blackamore said Seiler was kidnapped at knifepoint and she did not know the abductor. There also was a threat of a gun, Blackamore said, but Seiler never saw one.
Seiler was treated at a local hospital and released six hours later.
"She really got through her ordeal remarkably well, physically," said Dr. Philip Schultz.
Seiler was cold and dehydrated, he said, and had "aches from being confined." Police would not comment on how this occurred.
Search for Suspect Continues
Police have secured the area where Seiler was found and were seen going from car to car checking for a suspect. Officers searched for a suspect in the marsh from a helicopter using thermal cameras, said Carl Saxe, Madison's assistant fire chief.
The suspect is described as a white male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5 feet 11 inches or 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt, jeans and a black hat.
Seiler's disappearance had baffled investigators because she did not take her purse or a heavy coat with her when she left her apartment. She also did not take her car.
Hundreds of volunteers joined the police in their search for clues.
Police have been trying to determine whether Seiler's disappearance could be tied to a strange incident on Feb. 1, when the young woman was assaulted by an unknown assailant and knocked unconscious. Seiler, who was struck from behind, was then moved about a block or so from where she was attacked.
She was not sexually assaulted and nothing was taken from her. She was treated at a hospital and released.
At the time, Seiler told police she had no idea who might have wanted to hurt her.