After an intensive search in Chase County for more than two days, the suspected remains of Annika Swanson, 22, were found Sunday afternoon. The woman was missing for a week-and-a-half.
Three men are behind bars on kidnapping charges, although none of them have been charged with murder, at least not yet, in the ongoing investigation.
Attorney General Doug Peterson said Monday afternoon that an autopsy is being conducted and further charges depend on the results.
Swanson’s remains were found Sunday afternoon after an intense investigation, Chase County Sheriff Kevin Mueller said.
Mueller said he learned of the woman’s disappearance around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 from her father in Imperial, who said he hadn’t seen or heard from her for nearly a week.
Mueller said the sheriff’s office immediately started a missing person’s investigation; interviewing individuals who might have information regarding Swanson’s whereabouts.
That evening, Nov. 21, several people were brought into the sheriff’s office for more questioning, Mueller said. After the interviews, it was determined that another woman, age 20, had allegedly been assaulted and kidnapped, which expanded the investigation.
With the help of that information, Mueller said Russell Mann, 43, of rural Enders was apprehended and charged with two counts of accessory to kidnapping, both Class IIA felonies punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. Mann is held on a $250,000 bond.
As the investigation continued, investigators came to believe the missing woman may have met a dire end and a search began promptly that evening, Nov. 21, in a rural area south of Imperial.
It was unsuccessful.
Around 9 a.m. the next morning, on Nov. 22, after obtaining and executing several search warrants, a more organized search began near Imperial, Mueller said. By then, several other agencies were involved — the Chase County emergency management team, Nebraska game wardens plus a search and rescue team from Torrington, Wyo. The Wyoming team included a cadaver dog as well as a tracking dog.
They searched Friday without success. Mueller said the investigation continued at the same time. The sheriff’s office identified two suspects and obtained arrest warrants connected to the woman’s disappearance as well as other alleged kidnappings.
Mueller said investigators determined the two suspects might be found in the Fort Collins, Colo. area and the Fort Collins police were contacted. He said both suspects were apprehended in Fort Collins Saturday afternoon, Nov. 23, thanks to expert help from the Fort Collins police and their Crimes Against Persons team and Criminal Impact team.
Mueller said a Chase County deputy was immediately dispatched to Fort Collins to work with detectives to interview suspects and develop additional leads.
The young men arrested in Fort Collins were Kevin Scot German, 24, and Keonna Nilsa Carter, 22. Each man is charged with a series of crimes — two counts of using a firearm to commit a felony, kidnapping, first-degree false imprisonment, terroristic threats and third-degree assault.
They are incarcerated in Fort Collins, held on $1 million bonds, pending extradition to Chase County. Mueller said more charges may be forthcoming.
On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, the apparent remains of Swanson were discovered with the help of the Nebraska State Patrol.
Mueller said the evidence is being processed by forensic technicians and investigators. The Fort Collins police also continue to help in the case.
Mueller said Swanson’s family was notified and the investigation is ongoing.