Cloquet father charged with kidnapping sonThe Cloquet man accused of kidnapping his 7-year-old son and stabbing himself when law enforcement officers rescued the boy was arraigned Thursday morning on charges of kidnapping and deprivation of custodial or parental rights.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
The Cloquet man accused of kidnapping his 7-year-old son and stabbing himself when law enforcement officers rescued the boy was arraigned Thursday morning on charges of kidnapping and deprivation of custodial or parental rights.
James Leon Nordrum Jr., 42, made his court appearance behind glass in a secured area of the St. Louis County Courthouse arraignment courtroom. Six security officers were in the courtroom as a safety precaution in what the prosecutor later called a highly emotional custody matter. There were no incidents.
Nordrum politely addressed Judge Sally Tarnowski, answering most questions with a “Yes, ma’am” or “No ma’am.”
Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Jessica Smith asked the court to set bail at $150,000. She told Tarnowski that based on his past acts Nordrum poses a substantial risk to public safety and is a flight risk because he faces a presumed prison sentence if convicted.
Smith said the defendant has a history of fleeing from law enforcement and has been suicidal. The prosecutor also asked the court for an order of protection to keep Nordrum from contacting his estranged wife.
Defense attorney Terri Port Wright told the court that Nordrum underwent a psychological evaluation while in St. Luke’s hospital, and his medication regiment was revised. She said she was concerned that her client hadn’t been receiving his medication while in jail. She asked the court to revisit the issue of Nordrum’s pretrial release after her client’s psychological report becomes available.
Port Wright argued that it wasn’t necessary to issue a protective order. She pointed out that Candice Nordrum and the couple’s son, Wyatt — who turns 8 on Saturday — live in Canada and her client isn’t allowed to enter that country. Tarnowski issued the order for protection and told Nordrum to have no contact with his wife or child in person, through a third party, through mailing or any kind of electronic correspondence. Tarnowski set bail at $150,000.
Nordrum and his son were found in a rural cabin in St. Louis County’s Stoney Brook Township at 11:23 p.m. Saturday with the help of tips from the public. The boy was not harmed physically. The disappearance of Nordrum and his son prompted a statewide Amber Alert.
Candice Nordrum filed to divorce her husband in January 2011. According to court records, Nordrum was scheduled to be in State District Court in Duluth for a motion hearing regarding his pending divorce trial on March 27, the day he disappeared with his son.
Nordrum Jr. had consented to the change of custody in the face of allegations that he and his father, James Leon Nordrum Sr., 59, had planted drugs and a gun in Candice Nordrum’s vehicle and then had tipped off border agents when she was returning Wyatt for visitation in April 2011. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the rescue of the boy by the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, Fond du Lac and Cloquet police departments, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.