FARGO — A report of a kidnapping that prompted Fargo police to send phone alerts to area residents this fall apparently stemmed from a miscommunication between a woman and her brother.
Kristin Dawn Hettervig’s family reported to police that her ex-boyfriend Matthew Thomas Roy Hanson had kidnapped her on Oct. 12, setting off a police search for the two.
However, Hettervig later told authorities she used a “poor choice of words” when telling her brother what happened, according to a letter Cass County Assistant State’s Attorney Renata Selzer wrote to police declining to file criminal charges against Hanson.
Selzer's letter, obtained by The Forum this week through a public records request, said Fargo police responded to Hettervig’s house after her brother reported she sent a text that said, in part, “Matthew took me!” Her brother later found her front door open.
While on the phone, Hettervig’s mother said she heard Hanson allegedly slap her daughter, but Hanson said over the phone “I’m not going to hurt her.” Hettervig was heard saying, “I’m dead,” according to the letter.
Hettervig told an officer over the phone that she was fine, but the officer said her voice was shaking and she sounded distressed.
The Fargo Police Department alerted the public to the possible kidnapping, asking residents and law enforcement to be on the lookout for Hanson’s vehicle.
Hanson and Hettervig were located the same day in Barnes County, which borders Cass County to the west. Hanson denied taking Hettervig against her will, and she said “telling her brother she was kidnapped was a ‘poor choice of words.’”
“(Hettervig) acknowledged that Hanson slapped her, but she said it occurred after she had thrown a Mountain Dew bottle at Hanson,” the letter stated, noting that Hettervig was not injured.
Hanson told police the two had been together for seven years. He said the relationship isn’t healthy and that Hettervig’s family doesn’t like him, the letter said.
Hettervig’s text messages and the comments her mother overheard were “undoubtedly alarming,” Selzer wrote in the letter, but prosecutors must be able to prove Hettervig was abducted and restrained.
“There is insufficient evidence here to meet this burden,” she wrote, adding that jurors likely would not conclude Hanson held Hettervig against her will.
Selzer also wrote that prosecutors won’t be able to prove Hanson assaulted Hettervig since there is no evidence she suffered “bodily injury."