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Officials take News 9 inside the bunker where Portage Co. fugitive was hiding

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW)- As you walk along the Ice Age Trail you would never imagine the trail could be someone’s home.

However, when you get about a quarter of a mile into the trail there is a makeshift bunker that Jeremiah Button called his home for three years.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I have never seen anything like it,” said Detective Marshall Schjoneman of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department.

Inside the bunker the radio was still playing.

Button made his own electricity using a bicycle as a generator.

He also had plenty of non-perishable food items along with a makeshift stove.

“I saw some pictures prior to coming here and the pictures alone were extraordinary and it’s hard to believe this was in the woods and someone was living there,” Schjoneman said.

Button told police he was able to make frequent trips to a local landfill to get supplies.

On the roof of the bunker there were solar panels and even an antenna.

Button had been on the run since 2016 after failing to appear in court for numerous charges for sex crimes.

Living off the grid came to an end for Button on Friday after someone nearby tipped police off.

“A call like this is extremely dangerous for deputies to go to because you don’t know the demeanor of the capability of what could happen,” Schjoneman said.

When police first arrived, the latch on the door was locked.

They said it took Button 20 minutes to come out.

Schjoneman said he was told it seemed as thought Button was relieved because it was his first human contact in three years.


Victoria Saha

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