Father that abducted daughters in Cottage Grove charged with four felonies

SOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY — A Minneapolis man faces four felony counts after carjacking his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping their two young daughters June 7.

Jeffrey Lo, 24, was charged Monday in the Washington County District Court. The charges include two counts of kidnapping with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and violation of an Order for Protection while in possession of a dangerous weapon.

The abduction triggered an AMBER Alert and put two District 833 schools on modified lockdown. Lo was taken into custody after a nearly four-hour manhunt that included a helicopter, four K-9 units, the FBI and U.S Marshals Service. Police found him near a wooded area in the back of homes near the 7100 block of Hidden Valley Lane in Cottage Grove.

Lo’s ex-girlfriend had obtained an Order for Protection against him May 7 after a hearing in Hennepin County Court. She told police they had ended their five-year relationship two or three months ago. She said she was staying at her parents’ home in Cottage Grove.

According to the criminal complaint, Cottage Grove police responded to a report of the kidnapping around 6:30 a.m. near 80th Street and Highway 61.

They found a woman in the parking lot of a local business. She had a gash in her left cheek and blood down her front. She told police she was taking her daughters to daycare when Lo attacked her. She said Lo had hidden in the back of her minivan while she put her daughters inside.

She had driven a short distance when she said Lo lunged forward, pushed her into the passenger’s seat and pistol-whipped her with a gun that she said looked like a Glock. She said Lo let her out of the van after she began yelling out the window.

She told police she was afraid Lo would kill their daughters.

Tips and investigative work helped police to narrow the search for Lo to an area that encompassed Hinton to Hardwood avenues and 70th to 80th streets. They found the woman’s empty Toyota Sienna minivan abandoned in a driveway in the 7300 block of Hyde Avenue South. There appeared to be blood on the front seat, the complaint said. Officers also found a loaded ammunition clip in the driver’s side pocket.

Police found Lo lying on his back, hugging the girls to his chest. They appeared to be unharmed, Cottage Grove Public Safety Director Pete Koerner said.

“I really feel for those kids,” Koerner said June 7 following the rescue of the girls. “You get all sorts of things running through your mind … I don’t think we could have asked for a better outcome.”

Lo told police that he and the woman had argued the day before and that he was angry because she had stopped communicating with him about custody of their kids. He admitted hiding in the back of the van but denied having a gun. Lo said he’d brought the magazine to scare the woman. He said he tried to talk to her about “spending the day with the kids,” when the woman allegedly slammed on the brakes, throwing him forward to the front of the van. Angered, he allegedly hit her with the magazine.

Koerner said no gun was found.

The complaint said that Lo expressed remorse for his actions, telling officers that “he became angry and his emotions took over, and that’s why he did what he did that day.”

According to the terms of the Order for Protection, Lo would have been permitted supervised visits with the children on June 8.

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