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James Leon Nordrum Jr. (File / Photo courtesy of St. Louis County)

Accused kidnapper Nordrum recovers from neck wounds as charges are reviewed

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James Leon Nordrum Jr. is hospitalized under the 24-hour watch of St. Louis County sheriff's deputies as he recovers from two deep knife stab wounds to his neck that he allegedly self-inflicted when law enforcement officers said they rescued his son, 7-year-old Wyatt Nordrum, from him Saturday night.

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Nordrum, 42, is charged with kidnapping and deprivation of parental rights in connection with allegedly abducting the boy on March 27.

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin said he will be reviewing the case today for consideration of further charges.

"We are finishing reviewing the reports surrounding the recovery of the child and the arrest of the suspect,'' Rubin said Monday evening. "The final charging decision is expected to be made tomorrow.''

The defendant and his son were found in a rural cabin in St. Louis County's Stoney Brook Township at 11:23 p.m. Saturday with the help of tips from the public.

"When law enforcement showed up, they were both in a bedroom,'' St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman said. "The son did not witness the self-inflicted stabbing, which is good. Wyatt is just fine."

James Nordrum was initially listed in critical condition. Rubin said the report he received is that the defendant's condition is improving. No shots were fired, and no officers were injured.

Litman said it hasn't yet been determined if anyone harbored or helped Nordrum.

Sgt. Bill Evans of the sheriff's office said Monday that the cabin where Nordrum was found is unoccupied. He said investigators were hoping to interview the cabin owner, who lives in Carlton County, as soon as possible. Evans said it hadn't been determined if the defendant had any connection to the property or its owner.

Evans said that based on the condition of the cabin and what was found, investigators believe the defendant had been at the cabin since the time he disappeared.

Candice Nordrum filed to divorce her husband in January 2011. According to court records, Nordrum was scheduled to be in State District Court in Duluth for a motion hearing regarding his pending divorce trial on the day he disappeared with his son. The disappearance of Nordrum and his son prompted a statewide Amber Alert.

According to court records, James Nordrum has a diagnosed bi-polar-manic depression disorder and admitted that he sometimes doesn't take his medication. Law enforcement received reports that James Nordrum had been making suicidal threats and had withdrawn large sums of money from his account, according to the criminal complaint.

As a result of "grave concerns about the well-being of the child,'' Judge John DeSanto issued an order on March 27 granting sole legal and physical custody to Candice Nordrum. The boy's mother has permission to transfer her son to her residence in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, according to court documents.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office was assisted in the rescue of the boy by the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, Fond du Lac and Cloquet police departments, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Anoka County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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