Frayed Nerves In Van Wert County, After Latest In A Series Of Violent Home Invasions

By WISE Web News

April 4, 2012 Updated Apr 4, 2012 at 5:27 PM EST

VAN WERT COUNTY, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Two dangerous suspects linked to a brazen kidnapping and attempted murder are priority targets of the Van Wert County Sheriff's Department.

Those suspects may also be connected to two murders in neighboring Mercer County.

A 27-year old Van Wert County man victimized in a home invasion March 18th is fortunate to be alive, after a frightening ordeal.

The sheriff’s department says Daniel Hemker was stabbed, and then abducted from his home by two masked intruders, who tied him up and drove him to a nearby quarry.

The one suspect driving the car, revved the engine, got out, and then dropped the car into gear, catapulting it into 35 feet of water with Hemker bound in the backseat.

Police say the crash impact shattered the back window, and Hemker was able to free himself and swim to safety.

Hemker’s brother later called 911 to report his injuries.

911 Call/Dispatcher: " Is he conscious?”

Caller: " Yeah, but, I mean, he's bleeding.”

Dispatcher: " Okay. You got pressure on his wound?”

Caller: " Yeah."

Sheriff Stan Owens/(R) Van Wert County: " At the least, we have an aggravated burglary, we have a felonious assault, we have a kidnapping and then at the quarry, we have attempted murder."

It’s not known if there’s a direct connection, but there are similarities between the crime involving Hemker, and two other home invasions in Mercer County.

In the worst case, last November in Fort Recovery, Robert Grube and his daughter Colleen were tied up and shot to death.

No arrests have been made.

The police agencies from the two counties have released a composite sketch, representing a description of what one of the suspects may look like.

They have also released a picture of a dark-colored Ford Ranger pickup, which is similar to a vehicle that may have been used in the crimes.

People living in Middle Point Ohio, which is near the quarry in the Hemker incident, are nervous about what happened on the fringe of town.

Trish Kontra says her neighbors are getting dogs, buying guns, and locking their doors now, as a show of newfound concern about their safety.

If anyone has knowledge about the Hemker case, you can call the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Department at 419-238-3866, or 419-238-STOP.




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