JUNEAU — A 34-year-old Beaver Dam man made his initial appearance in court Friday after his 17-year-old daughter, who had been reported as a runaway months ago, was found in his home Thursday.
Nicholas L. Batchelder appeared before Dodge County Court Commissioner Steven Seim Friday for a felony charge of interfering with child custody — other parent and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer. If found guilty of both offenses, he could face up to 13 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.
Batchelder was released on a $1,000 signature bond and can have no contact with his daughter or her mother.
According to the criminal complaint, Beaver Dam Police received information Thursday from a confidential source that the girl was at Batchelder’s apartment. A recording device was placed on the source, and he went to the home of Batchelder. While in the apartment, Batchelder allegedly told the informant that the girl was in the back bedroom.
Beaver Dam Police got a search warrant for the apartment and went to Batchelder’s home to speak with him Thursday. According to the criminal complaint, Batchelder denied the girl being at the home and said he had not contact with her since she disappeared in November.
Batchelder was told about the search warrant and police entered the home where they found the girl. Batchelder was not to have contact with the girl at the time of her disappearance and her mother was awarded full custody.
When being questioned by police, Batchelder invoked his Miranda rights and requested an attorney.
According to the criminal complaint, the girl told officers that she did not want to be at her mother’s house so she left and stayed at the home of two friends and her father’s house for the last five months. The girl said her dad was mad at her when she first ran away, but he told her that he would protect her. Dodge County Human Services took custody of the girl after she was questioned.
Batchelder has a preliminary hearing scheduled May 30.