Sheriff: Couple took 4 kids

Published 3:45 am Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Hammond man was arrested Friday night for kidnapping, and authorities are still seeking a second suspect in connection with the case, according to officials with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

In a media release, WPSO officials stated that Joshua Michael Abelseth, 33, whose last known address was 18045 Brandon Drive in Hammond, was located and arrested Friday night on four counts of kidnapping that occurred earlier in the week.

Joshua Abelseth

Reportedly, Abelseth is the non-custodial father of four children, and he and the non-custodial mother, Jennifer Abelseth, kidnapped the children from the parish. The children were located and returned to the custody of their grandparents, and it appears the children suffered no harm during the kidnapping.

WPSO investigators reportedly learned that Joshua Abelseth was back in Washington Parish, and would likely take the children back to their grandparents’ house. WPSO detectives, patrol deputies and drug task force officers set up surveillance in the vicinity and were able to spot Abelseth drive up to the house to take the children inside.

Officials said that once Abelseth drove away, officers made a traffic stop on him, arrested him and transported him to the Washington Parish Jail, where he was held on four counts of simple kidnapping.

As of Tuesday morning, Jennifer Abelseth remained a fugitive and her location was unknown. WPSO officials said it is believed that she may be in Alabama, either in the Hoover or Tuscaloosa areas, or perhaps in the Mobile area.

Officials said that the WPSO investigators, with the assistance of the FBI, are searching for her and are optimistic that she will be located. Abelseth’s options are reportedly limited because she has no vehicle and is believed to have no money.

Jennifer Abelseth

According to information obtained at her last booking into the Washington Parish Jail on July 10, 2019, she is 5-feet-5 and weighs approximately 140-150 pounds. Her hair was blond at that time. Her previously married name was Jennifer Weathers.

WPSO investigators have followed all leads, but as of press time they had been unable to locate her. If any person encounters Jennifer Abelseth or knows her location, they are asked to contact the WPSO at 985-839-3434.

“Great arrest,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said Saturday. “Our investigators have been working on this non-stop and I am so pleased the children are back home and safe. Joshua Michael Abelseth is in jail where he belongs and I am confident that Jennifer Abelseth will be able to join him as soon as we locate her.

“Sooner or later, we will locate her, arrest her and put her in jail. Jennifer, if you are reading this, call us and let us know where you are. Make it easy on yourself.”