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Lakeside man faces multiple charges after locking girlfiend in chicken coop

A Lakeside man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly locked his girlfriend, an Iraq War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, in a chicken coop.

Terry Lee Rantala, 45, faces misdemeanor charges of bail jumping and two counts domestic battery, and felony charges of domestic false imprisonment and bail jumping in connection with the incident.

Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Cory Fossum testified Wednesday that he was directed to Rantala's home in Lakeside on Sept. 1, after friends of the victim contacted 911 after receiving text messages they believed were from Rantala stating he had just put the victim in the ground. One of the messages came from the victim's phone.

"I tried calling (the victim's) phone and I got no answer," Fossum said. "So I tried calling Terry and I spoke with him."

He said after Rantala told him the victim wasn't there, Fossum asked if he could come out to verify that. Rantala appeared sober and cooperative and was waiting in the driveway when Fossum arrived.

Fossum said after a search of the house turned up nothing, he asked for permission to search the property. He walked to a tree-line on the north side of the property where he saw an old chicken coop. The deputy said he heard sobbing coming from the chicken coop so he opened the door.

According to the criminal complaint:

The victim reported that after Rantala beat her Aug. 27 and dragged her to the chicken coop, the victim heard a nail being set.

Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Andrea Dittbrender, who responded to the scene to help the victim, observed an exterior knob lock that made a slight "chink" sound when engaging the lock.

Fossum said he was familiar with Rantala from prior contacts, and arrested him.

According to online court records, Rantala is also facing felony first-degree recklessly endanger safety, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, resisting an officer, bail jumping and battery charges in connection with two separate incidents earlier this year. In both cases, Rantala was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Rantala was bound over for arraignment Oct. 18. He remains in custody of the Douglas County Jail. Cash bond was set at $2,000 following an initial appearance Sept. 7.

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