Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes News

Missing 14-year-old found safe, South Haven man facing nine felony charges

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott, shown at podium, held a press conference Friday, Feb. 2, at the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, Paw Paw, with Van Buren County Prosecutor Susan Zuiderveen. Sheriff Abbott announced that Keith Daniel Freerksen, 30, of South Haven, had been arrested in a case involving a 14-year-old Washington girl, who he transported back to a residence in South Haven. Freerksen faces nine felony counts.
Courier-Leader photo/Paul Garrod
Keith Daniel Freerksen
Seventh District Court Judge Arthur Clarke, shown in upper left-hand screen, presides over the arraignment Friday, Feb. 2, in South Haven of Keith Daniel Freerksen, 30, a Michigan registered sex offender, shown in lower right hand.
Courier-Leader photo/Paul Garrod

PAW PAW – On Jan. 31, Special Agents from the FBI Seattle office contacted the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, advising this agency of their nationwide search being conducted for a missing/endangered 14-year-old girl who went missing from Mount Vernon, Washington, on Jan. 5, 2024.
Federal, county, and local law enforcement officers assigned to that investigation in that state were able to develop a person of interest located in South Haven. Washington authorities identified this individual as Keith Daniel Freerksen, 30, a Michigan registered sex offender.
With the intelligence information provided by the Washington State law enforcement investigators, this provided enough probable cause for a search warrant for this subject’s home and property to be checked for this missing, endangered young girl.
Detectives from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, along with uniformed officers from the South Haven Police Department, executed a search warrant on the property, located in the 20000 block of Blue Star Highway, South Haven Township, discovering the missing girl in this subject’s home.
Much evidence was recovered by Van Buren County investigators during the execution of the search warrant, confirming Washington State law enforcement’s belief that Freerksen befriended this young girl on social media for several months and did in fact, travel by vehicle to the state of Washington, pick her up during the time of her disappearance, and bring her back to this South Haven location where Freerksen was residing.
During the investigation by both law enforcement in Washington State and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, it was found that Freerksen groomed this girl over time on social media.
This was a lengthy online relationship used to gain her trust and confidence for purposes of meeting and to be with him.
Freerksen is currently being held with no bond on nine felony charges, including two counts of human trafficking of a minor (20-year felony); two counts of using a computer to commit a crime (20-year felony); one count of criminal sexual conduct-first degree (felony-possible life sentence); three counts of criminal sexual conduct, third degree (15-year felony); and one count of accosting a child for immoral purposes (four-year felony).
Freerksen is also pending charges out of the State of Washington related to this joint investigation as well.
In a press release from the Mount Vernon, Washington Police Department, it stated, “Locating (her) safely is directly attributed to the family, friends and many who showed concern and compassion for her well-being. It is also directly attributed to our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who helped when investigative leads went beyond our jurisdictional boundaries or abilities. In particular, we thank the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in ultimately locating (her).”
Investigating agencies included the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, Mount Vernon, Washington, Police Department, Skagit County Washington Sheriff’s Office, and FBI Seattle Washington.
The South Haven City Police Department assisted in the investigation.

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