A Wisconsin campground owner who made news for flouting coronavirus restrictions has cited COVID-19 as a reason for skipping a court date, but a judge ordered her arrested.
Ann Retzlaff, the longtime owner of Annie's Campground in Shawano County, failed to appear in court on four counts, including eluding police and recklessly endangering safety, in connection with a May 15 traffic stop, so Judge William Kussel ordered a warrant for her arrest -- but she failed to show up for three straight court appearances, reported WLUK-TV.
"I fear for my life to be in an enclosed area with people in it that may have the contagion covid," Retzlaff wrote to the court before skipping Tuesday's date. "Based on documented, peer-reviews on the seriousness of the contagion covid, I will not make a special appearance tomorrow. Furthermore, with the weather changes, my injuries sustained while on Active Duty Army are flaring up. I am a verified Disabled American Veteran and I need time to see my healthcare providers and for the injuries to heal. I request a postponement so I have time to recover and I can not risk my health any further in my condition and I fear for my life."
The 52-year-old Retzlaff, a self-described sovereign citizen and QAnon conspiracy theorist, missed her initial appearance Oct. 5 due to illness, so the case was adjourned until Oct. 26, so Kussel ordered her arrest, but she posted the $3,000 bond and left jail -- and she refused to appear for the next hearing, as well.
"The last warrant was illegal and no authorized signature by anyone, thus not valid," Retzlaff told the clerk of courts. "ALL warrants must be reviewed and authorized by Sheriff (Adam) Bieber. If he does authorize nonsense like this continued harassment then he is also dirty and covering up the satanic pedophilia, sex/drug/human/child trafficking in our area."
"There is NO jurisdiction over me," she added in another email to the clerk of courts. "I have waited FOUR YEARS for justice to be served where I am the victim of a $60,000 theft, but I ask for a postponement for medical reasons and I am denied. Why?"
Kussel rejected all of Retzlaff's arguments, which he said weren't even properly filed and cited no legal authority, and ordered her arrested again on a "body only" warrant, which would not allow her to post bond and requires her to appear in court before she can be released.
The legal saga began back in May, when deputies attempted to pull Retzlaff over for failure to stop at a traffic light, but she nearly struck a pair of deputies as she fled, but she eventually stopped after deputies deployed traffic spikes.
"She stated she did not do anything wrong, and she was being wrongfully stopped," the complaint states. "She stated she is a sovereign citizen and will not step out of the vehicle."
A deputy broke open her window with a baton and she was taken into custody, and Retzlaff told authorities she did not stop because she was supposedly rescuing an employee from sex traffickers.
Retzlaff made news last year for her refusal to shut down her campground despite rising COVID-19 cases, and she was also ticketed last year for posing as a sheriff's deputy to threaten someone who had complained about her Facebook posts regarding the pandemic.
She ignited another backlash this year after a 5-year-old boy drowned at her campground, which she promoted in a Facebook post announcing the child's death.