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Wisconsin armed kidnapping suspect found dead after manhunt

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An armed kidnapping suspect was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area in western Wisconsin following a two-day manhunt, authorities said at a news conference.

Mitchell Owens, 24, had been hiding out in a densely wooded area in rural Eau Claire County since Monday morning after allegedly kidnapping a woman and fleeing police when she escaped from his car.

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer said officers on the scene heard a gunshot about 1:30 p.m. Monday, but were cautious about searching the wooded area for fear that Owens was lying in wait for them, WEAU reports.

Officials found Owens' body Tuesday afternoon; he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff's department confirmed to the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.

Police say Owens kidnapped the 21-year-old woman – believed to be an acquaintance of his whom he targeted – while she was working the overnight shift at a Mukwonago Wal-Mart Monday.

He then took her to Eau Claire, where she was able to escape around 9:30 a.m. Monday, FOX 6 reports.

Following a high-speed chase, officials used stop sticks to stop Owens' vehicle, which crashed on Olson Drive in the town of Seymour. Owens fled on foot into a wooded area, the Leader Telegram reports.

He was believed to be armed with a shotgun or rifle, Eau Claire County officials say.

More than 200 officers from different jurisdictions had been guarding a one-mile perimeter of the wooded area where Owens was believed to be hiding out, KARE 11's Lou Raguse tweeted.

Several homes in the area were evacuated Monday, the Eau Claire police said on Twitter. With the investigation ended, those residents were allowed to return to their homes Tuesday afternoon, WEAU reports.

There are also plans to reopen roads that have been closed.

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