Mental woes cited in firefighter case — (ct The Cap Times)

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ct The Cap Times

Steven Elbow  ­

7/06/2007 11:50 am

A Madison firefighter who prompted an Amber Alert by taking his children on an unscheduled trip to Minnesota has been suffering from a mental disorder and recently purchased a handgun, court records say.

Craig R. Underkofler, 56, of Middleton, has been increasingly prone to paranoid delusions and accused one of his ex-wives of being involved in an identity theft ring, the woman told police, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Thursday in Dane County Circuit Court.

One of the ex-wives told police that Underkofler told Madison Fire Department officials that he was working for a task force investigating the identity theft operation.

Fire Department spokeswoman Lori Wirth said today the department has no such task force itself, but added that she could not comment about whether the department investigated any such claim by Underkofler. Wirth said Underkofler’s job status has not changed, but other firefighters are taking his shifts for him for the time being.

A criminal complaint filed Thursday charges Underkofler with three counts of interfering with child custody, relating to three teenage children he shares custody of with a former wife, who lives in Middleton.

Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain said today that the department will be recommending another interference charge to the district attorney in relation to a 3-year-old girl who was also taken on the Minnesota trip. She is the daughter of Underkofler and a Madison woman he is currently divorcing.

The court documents filed Thursday state that Underkofler was supposed to have dropped off the children to their mothers on Monday after he spent the weekend with them, but he failed to do so. A court order specifies in detail the days Underkofler has custody of the three teenagers from his first marriage, the documents state, and Underkofler has previously abided by the agreement.

Both mothers filed missing person reports Monday and an Amber Alert was issued that eventually led to their location at a resort in Lake County, Minn., where Underkofler had rented a cabin.

Underkofler was being held in the Lake County Jail on multiple felony counts of interfering with child custody. He was awaiting extradition proceedings to return to Wisconsin. Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard said he expects him to be here soon.

The children’s mothers traveled to Minnesota Wednesday to pick up the children, said Lt. Noel Kakuske of the Middleton Police Department.

According to the search warrant, Underkofler has been taking several medications, including Adderall, Zoloft and Trazedone, for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.

His former wives told police he has shown signs of being delusional, and he said the handgun he recently purchased was for his supposed role in the identity theft task force.

Steven Elbow  ­  7/06/2007 11:50 am