Donald Blom: A Repeat Sex Offender Finally Stopped
The Next Step
To keep public interest high, the police turned to a sports figure for help. Two weeks had passed without success, and, since the suspect appeared to be a sports fan, police asked Minnesota Twins legend Paul Molitor to make a public service announcement. His appeal to Minnesotans across the state got the attention of Darrel Brown, who worked at the Minnesota Veteran's Home, who began thinking. On June 18 he called the tip line to report his co-worker, Donald Hutchinson, who had recently stopped driving his black pick-up and who resembled the composite sketch. He had been absent on the day following the abduction and had recently cut his hair. Shortly after that, he had suddenly quit his job there as a janitor, without giving notice.
Hutchinson, investigation proved, was actually Donald Blom. Investigators now knew they had a good lead, since he'd been the driver of the truck matching the suspect license numbers. It turned out that he still had a black truck, after all: his wife apparently had covered for him. He also owned property twelve miles from the Moose Lake convenience store where Katie had been working. With more digging, investigators learned that Blom had convictions for sexual offenses — specifically for abducting petite young girls like Katie. In five incidents, he had abducted seven. Detectives worked quickly to get search warrants.
Agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) went looking for Blom, finding him with his family at a campground 140 miles from Richfield. In the early morning hours, agents roused him to ask some questions. He was arrested that afternoon, June 22, as he drove home from the trip, and taken in for questioning. Blom had purchased the Moose Lake property about two years earlier, and neighbors said he'd spent a lot of time there prior to the abduction, but not since. In fact, uncharacteristically, the place had been neglected in recent weeks.
Blom was not charged with Poirier's abduction immediately, but the sheriff told a reporter for the Star Tribune that he was "confident that we have the right man," and expected to file charges shortly. When charges were filed, Blom was held in a county facility. He set to work making escape plans, which were discovered, so he was placed in solitary confinement.
Blom's supervisor at the Veteran's Home reported that he had not known of Blom's criminal record, in part because Blom had used the name Hutchinson. He said that Blom had kept to himself and few people knew him. This was apparently Blom's modus operandi: after each incident, he would change his identity and appearance and keep to himself.
Word came out that while Blom had been friendly and cooperative upon being arrested, he refused to give a statement and had requested an attorney. In the meantime, the authorities organized a number of searches.