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Emergency Exception to Warrant Requirement – Child-Kidnapping: Heightened Need

State v. David M. Larsen, 2007 WI App 147, PFR filed 5/31/07
For Larsen: Jefren E. Olsen, SPD, Madison Appellate


¶20 Larsen first contends that because the officers had already conducted a thorough search of the home, they had no reason to believe that there was anyone inside in need of immediate assistance. We disagree.

¶21 When the officers and emergency personnel conducted the first search, they knew only that a woman at the residence who was having difficulty breathing had called 911. This search lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes and ended when the police did not locate the caller. The additional information received after the entry heightened the emergency and revealed the involvement of children. … It was entirely reasonable for the police to conclude from this information that the children were not with Jendusa-Nicolai and Larsen, that they may have been left behind somewhere in the residence and that their lives were in danger. These changed circumstances therefore reasonably demanded a different and more thorough search of the residence, this time for small children who potentially needed immediate aid.


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