(Villisca) -- A Wisconsin man remains in intensive care in an Omaha hospital following a stabbing incident at the Villisca Axe Murder House early Friday morning.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was called to the infamous location at 508 East 2nd Street in Villisca at around 12:45 a.m. On arrival and following a brief investigation, deputies found Steven Laursen Jr. of Rhinelander, Wisconsin with a self-inflicted stab wound. Laursen was taken by Villisca Rescue to Clarinda Regional Health Center, then transferred by medical helicopter to Creighton Medical Center in Omaha. An update on his condition was unavailable Friday afternoon. Montgomery County Sheriff Joe Sampson tells KMA News Laursen was alone in one of the house's rooms at the time of the incident.
"He was basically inside the room, as far as we've been able to piece together," said Sampson, "and he yelled out for help. That's when a couple of other people doing their paranormal research came into the room and found him. They called 911, and that's pretty much where it is now."
Sampson says no criminal charges will be filed, as there's no indication of foul play. The sheriff, however, stops short of calling the incident an accident.
"I don't believe it's an accident," he said. "Why he did it, we have no idea."
Laursen was a member of a paranormal investigative team based in Racine, Wisconsin. Martha Linn of Corning is the Villisca Axe Murder House's owner. The widow of the late proprietor Darwin Linn tells KMA News she first heard about the incident on the radio at around 7 Friday. And, she's not happy with the sheriff's office as a result.
"Needless to say, I'm not very happy with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department," said Linn. "Because I think they should have notified me. After all, I am the owner. I think it was my right to know what had happened at the house before I heard about it on the radio, and everybody else knows about it but me."
Tourists come from all over the country to visit the site where 12 people--including members of the Josiah Moore family--were bludgeoned to death in April, 1912. Over the years, the house has been a popular destination for paranormal investigators. But Linn says Friday's stabbing is the first such incident since it became a tourist spot.
"My goodness, I've never had an incident like this happen," she said. "And I've had hundreds of paranormal investigators come to the house. Now, I don't know about the mental capacity of the person that was here, but I know the one that booked it had been here several times. It wasn't like they were first time visitors."
In fact, Linn says the house only had one vacant night in all of October. While saying even more people may flock to the house as a result of Friday's incident, she's concerned about the damage to its reputation.
"I just felt like I had almost gained the respect of the community by the people that have been coming here," Linn said. "They're mostly very, very nice people--and I'm sure these people are nice, too. You have doctors, and lawyers, and nurses, and teachers, and people from every walk of life coming to spend the night here. Now, I've got to rebuild the respect of the people of Villisca because of this one incident."
Martha and Darwin Linn purchased the Axe Murder House in 1994.