A nationwide search for a missing Minnesota female teen ended after nearly seven months Thursday night in Faribault County.
“She is now in protective custody in our county,” says Chief Deputy Scott Adams. “Her parents must be ecstatic, their missing daughter has been found.”
Adams says the Sheriff’s Department was first notified on Tuesday that 17-year-old Madison Virginia Hjermstad might be somewhere in the county.
Local authorities started working on tips provided by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
On Thursday morning around 10:30 a.m., Adams says the BCA called to say that Hjermstad might be living in Minnesota Lake.
Adams says he and four deputies along with the Minnesota Lake Police Department spent hours gathering intelligence.
With the help of County Attorney Kathryn Karjala they were able to obtain a search warrant from Judge Troy Timmerman.
Authorities used an unmarked squad car to surveil a house where the teen was believed to be living with 45-year-old Robert Delbert Sargent.
“We basically watched the house for numerous hours. We were able to see a female matching her description through the window and another male party,” he says. “We weren’t going to give up. We had a pretty good idea by her picture that was her in the house.”
Law officers developed a game plan and entered the home around 7:30 p.m. and within five minutes they found the teen.
“Once we had a male party in custody and the vicious animals corralled, we found her upstairs in a bedroom,” Adams says.
Sargent was not the male taken into custody, but the chief deputy says the BCA knows his whereabouts and will finish the case.
“Our part ended up being a search, rescue and recover operation,” says Adams.
Hjermstad of Willmar was first reported missing in July 2019 and her case gained national attention through the Minnesota Crime Alert Network for missing persons.