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Council Bluffs man sentenced to 40 years for taking nude photos of 4-year-old girl he kidnapped

Revealed in court: 29-year-old had taken photos of children at the zoo hours before, played video game about raping women, children
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 3:08 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 4:42 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - More than 10 months after he kidnapped a 4-year-old girl and took nude photos of her for over an hour, Michael Brandstrom, 29, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to 40 years.

Previously convicted in state court on charges of kidnapping, Brandstrom was sentenced Wednesday in Federal Court for the Southern District in Iowa for Child Pornography and Possession of Child Porn in connection to that Council Bluffs kidnapping.

Federal charges don’t allow for parole, so Brandstrom will be 69 years old when he gets out.

Michael Brandstrom, 28 (Courtesy: Pottawattamie County Jail)
Michael Brandstrom, 28 (Courtesy: Pottawattamie County Jail)(KCRG)

New details were revealed in court Wednesday about the kidnapping in September 2019, including that the 4-year-old girl had wandered out of the apartment after her mom fell asleep.

Brandstrom spent two hours with her in his place. During their investigation, Council Bluffs detectives later examined his computer they found more than 600 images of child pornography. The U.S. Attorney said Brandstrom he tried to delete images off his computer when he knew he was under investigation.

It was also revealed Wednesday that hours before he kidnapped the girl, he took dozens of photos of other people’s children while he was at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and that he recorded children in Russia while he tried to get them to show him their privates online. Brandstrom had also downloaded an online game that is played with the goal of raping children and women.

While reporting on his arrest last year, 6 News looked into Brandstrom’s past and found he had served three years in North Dakota Corrections after pleading guilty to charges of terrorizing someone. While serving his time there, he was required to complete a sex offender treatment but was not registered as a sex offender.

In court Wednesday, Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger told Brandstrom that because he sought out his victims and has a history, he’s a significant danger.

“The risk to the community is incredible,” she said. “The court has to protect the public.”

Brandstrom told the judge: “I’m sorry for all the stuff I’ve done. I’m sorry I’ve caused harm to the victims.”

Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.

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