Maine man charged with kidnapping

Posted Sept. 28, 2009, at 8:10 p.m.
Archie Whalen.  (Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Police Department)
Archie Whalen. (Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Police Department)

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A man from coastal Maine has been arrested in Wisconsin after allegedly kidnapping a girl from her home in Kentucky.

Archie Murphy Whalen, 43, was found with the 13-year-old girl, who also has ties to Maine, in the parking lot of a hotel in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, according to officials. Whalen is accused of taking the girl from her home in Owensboro, Ky., on Saturday morning.

Dan Trelka, chief of police in Sturgeon Bay, said Monday morning that a nationwide Amber Alert drew the kidnapping case to his department’s attention. Whalen’s red Ford Explorer, which has Maine license plates, had been spotted Saturday afternoon headed north on Interstate 43 in Wisconsin. When Sturgeon Bay police talked to the FBI about the case, federal officials told them Whalen had a sister who lived in Sturgeon Bay, Trelka said.

Local police were looking for the truck when they spotted it driving into a local motel parking lot early Sunday morning, the chief said. Whalen and the girl were in the truck at the time.

“He was just pulling into the parking lot when they sprang on him,” Trelka said.

Whalen has ties to Hancock County in Maine, but according to Trelka, is listed on his driver’s license as a resident of Bristol, Maine, in Lincoln County.

Trelka said the girl had not been harmed while traveling with Whalen. The Bangor Daily News is not printing her name because she is a juvenile and an apparent crime victim. Medical personnel have seen her, and she is being kept at a shelter in the area until her mother arrives from Kentucky, Trelka said.

Whalen, who is being held at a jail in Sturgeon Bay, was expected to appear in a courtroom there Monday afternoon as the FBI and law enforcement officials in Kentucky and Wisconsin sorted out the legal aspects of how and where he will be charged, according to the police chief. Kentucky officials have charged him with kidnapping.

“He’s probably going to be prosecuted federally,” Trelka said.

Sturgeon Bay is on Door Peninsula, which sticks into Lake Michigan northeast of Green Bay. Owensboro is located on the Ohio River, just south of Pueblo, Ind.

According to press reports, police in Kentucky said the girl’s family had recently moved to the state from Maine, where Whalen had been an acquaintance of the family.

It was not clear Monday where the girl’s family may have lived in Maine. Bill Webster, superintendent of RSU 24 in Ellsworth, said Friday that state law prevented him from confirming whether the girl may have attended any of the unit’s schools during the 2008-09 academic year.

Trooper Dan Ryan of the Maine State Police said Monday that on Saturday he assisted officials with the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department in Kentucky in trying to find Whalen. Whalen, who has sisters who live in Hancock and Damariscotta, he said, had last been seen in the Ellsworth area on Friday, Sept. 25.

Law enforcement officials in Kentucky have said that Whalen has a criminal history that includes convictions in New York for rape, burglary and second-degree assault.

Whalen is not listed as a registered sex offender either in New York or in Maine, according to sex offender registry officials in those states. Whalen may not have been required to register in either state if he was convicted and then completed his sentence before Jan. 21, 1996, an official with New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services said Monday.

According to media reports, Whalen became a suspect after he and the girl were recorded by a video camera at a McDonald’s in Hardinsburg, Ky., on Saturday. The girl’s mother subsequently recognized Whalen from the video, news reports indicated.

Whalen previously has faced criminal charges in Penobscot and Hancock counties, according to court records. He was indicted in Penobscot County in August 1990 on burglary and theft charges. In 2008, he faced a charge in Ellsworth District Court of operating a motor vehicle while his license was suspended or revoked, but the charge later was dismissed, court records indicate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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