Inside child sex fugitive's bunker where he hid for more than three years

A fugitive wanted on child sexual assault and child pornography charges managed to hide out in a makeshift bunker in bushland for more than three years before being found.

Jeremy Button, 44, was unearthed when a hunter stumbled upon his hideout which was powered by solar panels and a pedal generator last week, police said.

Thomas Nelson found the bunker with a log door carved into an embankment on state land near Wausau in Wisconsin, US, several months ago, but didn’t look inside.

He became curious and returned to the bunker last Friday to see what was inside.

The outside of the hideout hidden in bushland. Source: CBS News

The door was unlatched so he went in.

Inside he found Button, who disappeared in February 2016 just weeks before he was scheduled to stand trial on child sexual assault and child pornography charges.

"I pushed the door open, and I look inside and I can see canned foods, there's little storage boxes, and I'm like ... I gotta go in," Mr Nelson told US television station WSAW-TV.

"I come around the corner a bit and there he is, laying in his bed. I mean, I was shaking when I went in, I was shaking when I went out."

He moved away and called police, guiding them to the bunker's door.

A police officer inspects the inside of the hideout. Source: CBS News

A 20-minute stand-off ensued before Button surrendered.

Marathon County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Kecker said Button seemed almost glad for human interaction.

Kecker said Button told deputies that he had been building the bunker while his case was moving through court, stockpiling it with items he found in the Marathon County landfill.

Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Stefonek said Button set up solar panels on the bunker's roof to power LED lights, radios, cooling fans and all manner of electronic equipment.

He also had a pedal-powered generator for cloudy days. The bunker was small enough that it stayed warm in winter and cool in summer.

"He was not only surviving, but thriving in this structure through all of the different supplies he was able to find," Stefonek said.

Button is back in custody on a $100,000 cash bond and is due back in court for a pre-trial conference on September 16.

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