Melchert Earl is described as an avid hunter by his family and close neighbors. Those who know him personally say that he has a drive for hunting deer and in most days he will go out to the grassy fields in search of deer and other animals. When he heard movements about one hundred yards on one of his hunting routines, his first instinct was just that- a deer. But as the moving figure drew closer, he noticed that it was a teenage girl whose photos had been circulating and has been on the local news reports for days.
The teenage girl had been held captive for over a month in the nearby town of Alexandria in a mobile home owned by one of his kidnappers. According to police reports, Melchert was lured from her home by one of his family friends and all this time she was kept in a closet, threatened with guns and raped. Despite the agonizing thirty days of captivity she still managed to free herself, swimming through part of the nearby lake and running across the field before she met with Mechert. After the encounter, he called 911 and stayed with the teenager until the sheriffs took her to hospital.
The story of the teenage girl escape made headlines over the days that followed with her family attributing her escape to bravery and tenacity. Alexandria police chief called Melchert a month after the girls escape and commended him for the part he played in saving the teenager. Due to Melchert Earl courage and bravery, he was rewarded $2,000 by the girls family, $7,000 from the police department and $5,000 from an anonymous donor. Despite the generous donations Melchert refused to accept the reward, but instead, he chose to give the money to the teenagers’ girl family.
Michert was moved by the act of generosity, but he was convinced that the reward meant more to the family although the cash could have come in handy given that he had just retired as the manager of elbow lake coop grain. After intensive investigation on the case, the officials managed to arrest Joshua Holby, Stephen Powers and Thomas Barker from Carlos, Minnesota. They were later charged with false imprison and kidnapping. Baker still faces an additional first-degree assault charge with Powers facing a second-degree sexual conduct charge.