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Manhunt under way for subject accused of assaulting ex-wife

Patrol Captain Scott Knudson, right, of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department confers with other law enforcement officers looking for a man accused of assualting his ex-wife. They were stationed next to a wooded area along O'Keefe Road north of Hanley Road.

A police manhunt is under way for a subject accused of violating a restraining order and assaulting his ex-wife at an apartment in the neighborhood of Hanley Road and Namekagon Street in Hudson Thursday morning.

St. Croix County sheriff's deputies and Hudson police responded to a report of the alleged assault at about 10:30 a.m. and established a perimeter around neighborhood.

St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead said the man fled the apartment after making suicidal comments and apparently slipped through the perimeter set up by law enforcement officers.

A witness reported seeing a police dog brought to the neighborhood in an attempt to track the suspect. There are wooded areas just to the west of Namekagon Street.

The reason for the apparent urgency in finding the man is that he may have his two school-age children with him. (The two children have since been found; watch this site for updates.)

Sheriff Hillstead said authorities contacted the Hudson schools the children attend and learned that they are absent today (Thursday).

Reports over police radio indicate one child attends E.P. Rock Elementary School and the other, Hudson Middle School.

Police radio also indicated that the first name of the man authorities are looking for is Rocco. He's believed to be driving a cherry red Ford F-150 extended cab pickup truck.

Hillstead said a notice has been broadcast to area law enforcement agencies asking them to be on lookout for the man.

The sheriff's department is assisting the Hudson Police Department in the search, Hillstead said.

Just before noon on Thursday, a spokesperson at the police department said no one was available to answer questions about the manhunt.