Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Teen found OK, man in custody

by Lisa Seiser and Robert Ireland

December 22, 2011

For more than 24 hours, family members, friends, police and city employees scoured the Lake Geneva area, handed out fliers and made pleas on social media networks looking for 13-year-old Courtney Harshman.

The teen, who went missing Sunday afternoon from Kendall Lane on the way to a neighbor's house, was found Monday night at around 7:10 p.m. at the Thomas Hotel in Elkhorn. She was in the company of a 21-year-old Nebraska man she apparently met online and has been in contact with for several months.

She was reunited with her family and friends, but Jacob Cambridge, 21, Lincoln, Neb., was arrested and law enforcement referred charges of child enticement, sexual assault and obstructing to the District Attorney's Office.

During a Tuesday afternoon bail bond hearing, Judge John Race set a $10,000 cash bond for Cambridge, who attends a community college and is a part-time pizza delivery driver. Other conditions of Cambridge's bond include no unsupervised contact with children, other than incidental contact, and that he can't use a computer other than for work, school and communication with his attorney.

"I think this family is very lucky," Lake Geneva Police Chief Michael Rasmussen said Tuesday afternoon. "They had people coordinating this effort. They had fliers out before we did and they were out in Delavan and Elkhorn looking and handing them out."

Those weren't the only people looking for Harshman.

It was 4 p.m. Sunday when Harshman headed to a neighbor's house to go to a waterpark with another family. She never made it. A few hours later, when her family realized she wasn't with the neighbors, they called police.

The search began with authorities knowing only that Harshman was walking in the area of Kendall Lane before she was reported missing.

Rasmussen said dogs were brought in to search the woods in the area. Lake Geneva Fire Department personnel aided the effort along with the city's street department and other city employees.

"We searched around the area of the house before we figured she was with somebody," Rasmussen said.

All police officers were asked to report to duty to look for the missing teen, and other volunteers and city employees handed out fliers with Harshman's picture and other information.

In the early afternoon, the FBI became involved along with the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations. Harshman's computer was analyzed and information that led to identifying Cambridge was found on the machine.

At about 4:50 p.m. federal investigators had determined the name, cell phone number, address and other pertinent information about Cambridge. After a vehicle plate number and description was determined, an Amber Alert was sent out.

Shortly thereafter an Elkhorn detective located the vehicle at the hotel.

Rasmussen said he was amazed at how quickly word got out about the missing girl. The alert along with social media and 4,200 automated calls to every land line phone number in Lake Geneva helped spread the alert.

During a brief hearing Tuesday afternoon, Cambridge said nothing and leaned his head on his clasped hands..

His attorney, Christopher T. Van Wagner, Madison, told members of the news media outside of the court room that Camgridge's family are supporting heir son.

Van Wagner said he anticipates that Cambridge will be able to post bond.

Van Wagner said he hasn't had an opportunity the review evidence in the case. However, he said although an Amber Alert may raise the public's awareness of a charge, it is not evidence.

Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube is handling the case. When called, the Walworth District District Attorney's Office said Grube will not be commenting on the case and the case is still under review.