Man accused of kidnapping couple reportedly built secret soundproof cell in his basement

GENESEO, Illinois (WQAD) -- The man accused of kidnapping an Erie, Illinois couple had a secret chamber hidden in the house where they were found.

A subcontractor who did work on the room inside the rental home owned by Chad Schipper of Geneseo, says the shelter was 12 by 12 feet, with block concrete walls, a concrete ceiling with steel I-beams, and soundproof insulation, and had only one way in and out. Through a metal trap door, hidden in a closet.

"It was under a rug in an upstairs closet. To get in this room, there was a welded steel hatch door. Custom made," said the man, who did not want to be identified. You needed a ladder to get into this room," he said.

Kidnapping suspect reportedly built soundproof cell in his basement
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Kidnapping suspect reportedly built soundproof cell in his basement
(Photo: WQAD)
(Photo: WQAD)
(Photo: WQAD)

He said Schipper had the workers remove the basement stairs, so the only access was through the steel door in the closet.

The room, he says was built about a year-and-a-half ago. He says he was hired by the contractor, who said the client was preparing for disaster.

"A prepper, in case the world ends. There was a toilet, shower, bathtub, and drain in the room. He said he was building a storm shelter in his basement," he said.

"The things we did in there, it was mind-blowing," he said.

The man furnished a photo of the fortified room, before the concrete ceiling and door were in place.

Schipper, 40, is accused of the Feb. 8 kidnapping Larry and Constance Van Oosten. He made his first appearance via video court on February 13th.

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