Dental technician taken hostage

A dental technician in a US prison was taken hostage by an inmate serving life for murder.

Authorities at Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin confirmed Stuart Ellanson forced the woman into a windowless storage room and held her there for five-and-a-half hours. He eventually surrendered and the woman was released unharmed.

The incident had forced the institution to go into emergency lockdown, curtailing any movement within the sprawling, brick-and-mortar prison and herding inmates to their cells.

Warden Michael Thurmer said Ellanson had used a number of what appeared to be homemade weapons to carry out the capture. Thurmer did not describe the weapons but said Ellanson gave them up one by one before surrendering.

‘We’re extremely lucky. We know that,’ secretary Rick Raemisch said.

Ellanson, 38, was convicted of murder in Douglas County in 1992. He worked in the prison’s health area and knew the dental worker. It is not known what kind of relationship, if any, the two may have had or why Ellanson chose her to capture.

Thurmer declined to give the dental technician’s full name, saying he wanted to protect her privacy. She had a medical exam, did not appear to have been sexually assaulted and was in ‘as good as spirits as can be expected,’ he said.

It is unclear what Ellanson hoped to gain by the incident. Thurmer said the prisoner’s demands to negotiators were general in nature, including a request for cigarettes.

The maximum-security Waupun prison is in central Wisconsin, about 70 miles north west of Milwaukee.

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