Altamont karate instructor facing two counts kidnapping

EFFINGHAM COUNTY — A 60-year-old Altamont karate instructor is behind bars today, charged with allegedly kidnapping a 13-year-old female student.

Steven C. Larson apparently arranged to meet the girl to give her a ride to karate class, say authorities, but the two were later found at a hotel in Sikeston, Missiouri early Sunday morning, after an Amber Alert had been issued for the girl.

At the request of Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler, Circuit Judge Kim Koester set bail for Larson at $250,000.

Larson remains held in the Scott County jail in Missouri, awaiting extradition to Effingham on the felony kidnapping charges.

Kibler said authorities began searching for the girl, and issued an Amber Alert, after a suspicious note was found in a car at the Amtrak station in Effingham. The note indicated the pair might be headed to Chicago, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

The girl’s parents reportedly dropped her off with Larson early Saturday morning, so he could take her to karate class, according to the Illinois State Police.

It’s unclear what led authorities to Missouri. Illinois State Police said only that officers in Sikeston found them at the hotel after “acting on information provided by Illinois investigators.”