Missing girl found; Man arrested for kidnapping
On June 22nd, 2016 at approximately 03:30 hours the Bemidji Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to a report of house fire in the 3900 block on Irvine Avenue. Upon arrival, they discovered the house was fully engulfed in flames. After the Bemidji Fire Department gained control of the fire, an adult body was discovered deceased inside the residence. The body has been sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiners Officer for positive identification. That information will be released after proper family notification.
Additionally, during the investigation it was discovered that 5 year old, Brittany Rose Balcer had been visiting the residence the evening the fire occurred. After a complete processing of the fire scene by local law enforcement and the Minnesota BCA crime scene team, Brittany had not been located.
Numerous law enforcement agencies including; the Minnesota BCA, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the State Fire Marshal and the Paul Bunyan Drug Taskforce have joined the Bemidji Police Department in our efforts determine what happened in early morning hours of June 22nd at this residence and to find Brittany Balcer.
Yesterday a search of the area, including a large wooded and swampy area, was conducted by more than 50 law enforcement officers and volunteers from the Bemidji Fire Department, Beltrami County Posse, Civil Air Patrol, Citizen Patrol and Bemidji Police Reserves. This search was unsuccessful in locating Brittany Balcer. Officers also canvassed the neighborhood talking with residents who may have seen anything suspicious or may be able to provide information valuable to this case.
In the late evening of hours of June 22, Jacob William Kinn, age 32 was identified as a person of interest. Mr. Kinn voluntarily came to the Bemidji Police Department to speak with detectives. After this conversation, BCA agents traveled to an area near Big Fork, MN and located Brittany Balcer. Jacob William Kinn has been arrested for kidnapping and is currently in the Beltrami County Jail awaiting formal charges.
This continues to be a complex ongoing investigation. We are now looking at learning everything we can about the timeline, the motive, and whether anyone else was involved. It doesn't appear to be the case, but we're still looking into that possibility. I wish to sincerely thank the public and all of the assisting law enforcement and public safety agencies that continue to assist in the investigation.
Thank you, Mike Mastin, Chief of Police