GENESEO, Illinois -- 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.
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 Feb. 13.