Ex Claims Furry Held Her Hostage, Forced Her Into Porn

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/YouTube
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/YouTube

A weapons-loving Wisconsin “furry” allegedly enslaved a vulnerable young woman for almost two years, holding her hostage in an often sweltering bedroom while forcing her to perform for free as a cam girl—pocketing a six-figure income from her work.

Austin Taylor Koeckeritz, 29, also steered an underage family member into his lurid world, coercing trysts between her and his bound-and-handcuffed girlfriend, investigators claim in a heartbreaking tranche of court documents obtained by The Daily Beast.

They say he even incorporated his alleged “adult entertainment” enterprise, calling it “The Boring Company,” echoing the name of controversial billionaire Elon Musk’s oft-derided tunnel-boring venture. (The one and only account Koeckeritz’s “fursona” follows on Twitter is Musk’s.) Koeckeritz listed himself on LinkedIn as the entity’s financial services officer, and police say he described his alleged sex slave’s role in the outfit as “pornstar.”

Through a series of in-depth interviews, as well as voluminous court and police records, The Daily Beast can reveal previously unreported details about the suspect’s life, offering insights into what could have possibly gone so wrong—and revealing how Koeckeritz’s alleged sex slave finally escaped with the help of other women who said they had suffered similar abuse.

Koeckeritz’s purported business model appears in some ways inspired by a popular cohort of misogynistic social media influencers. One of the highest-profile examples, accused rapist and sex trafficker Andrew Tate, advises young men to follow his own financial roadmap of crypto investing, drop-shipping branded merch, and, most lucratively, reeling in women and then getting them into online porn.

Koeckeritz, who had military training and reportedly kept guns and knives stashed throughout his home, attempted to make money from bitcoin mining, crypto donations, drop-shipping so-called “furry” merchandise and, according to the feds, forced labor. A furry-themed TikTok run by Koeckeritz amassed more than 160,000 followers.

Another of Koeckeritz’s exes, who is using the pseudonym ‘Hannah,’ told The Daily Beast she believes he is a “sociopath” who she once feared might kill her and that she is “terrified” he might retaliate against her for speaking out.

“I’m worried he’s going to come for me,” she continued. “He could take my life and tear it up.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Austin Taylor Koeckeritz, 29.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok/St. Croix County Sheriff's Office</div>

Austin Taylor Koeckeritz, 29.

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok/St. Croix County Sheriff's Office

Hannah described their years-long relationship as an “abusive” one that still gives her nightmares. While she was not coerced into pornography during their relationship, Hannah painted a picture of Koeckeritz as a young man with misogynistic tendencies, whose manipulation and abuse of women worsened as he faced a flagging career and financial difficulties.

“Whether he is exploring new places or helping scientists find a new cure through network computing, Austin Koeckeritz is always up for a challenge, especially when it means helping others,” his bio reads on Kickstarter, where Koeckeritz tried to raise money to publish a set of books promoting the so-called “furry fandom”, a subculture for fans of anthropomorphic animal characters. Some, but not all, furries enjoy dressing up in full-body “fursuits” and roleplaying as sexualized animal characters.

Hannah is in touch with some of Koeckeritz’s other former girlfriends, including the woman he is alleged to have enslaved, and they have shared stories of their experiences with one another.

“We all kind of look the same. We’re all very young-looking. We all have the same interests,” Hannah said of herself and the other women.

Koeckeritz had very specific preferences, she said. He wanted all his girlfriends to cut their hair short, and hated it if they wore make-up. Koeckeritz went for people who he thought were emotionally damaged or disabled, Hannah went on, alleging he targeted those who he believed “might not be able to take care of themselves fully,” and would come to rely on him.

During their relationship, Koeckeritz also pressured her to sleep with other people and take photos and videos of it for him, she says.

“I went along with it,” she said. “because if you didn’t do what he wanted, he would ignore you.”

Hannah believes what may have started as a sexual fetish for Koeckeritz may have later developed into a way for him to exert control over women, while also enriching himself. During their relationship, she says, he suggested she become an escort to make money, but she refused. Now she wonders whether she was in danger of being trafficked herself.

“I’m sure if I had let him, he would have done the same thing to me,” she says.

Lately, Koeckeritz’s father told The Daily Beast, his son seemed to have been on the right track.

“He went to school for psychology and picked up a degree in that,” Lance Koeckeritz said. “He’s got his associate’s, he’s working on his bachelor’s and [planning on] going for his master’s. So, he was working hard at trying to better himself… From his family’s standpoint, we’re puzzled.”

At the same time, the dad’s tepid support quickly turned to outright denial when confronted with the specific accusations laid against his son.

Koeckeritz conceded that “no one knows what goes on behind closed doors,” and that his knowledge of the situation comes almost entirely from what his son has told him. He described the matter as “a disagreement” between Austin and his girlfriend over money, and that the bond between them was simply collateral damage of the digital age.

“Easy as it sounds to make a quick buck, it can divide your relationship,” he said. “And if someone makes an allegation, there is nothing you can do. Nobody will know until it comes out in court.”

Now Koeckeritz sits in a Pierce County lockup on $300,000 bond, facing a federal labor-trafficking charge that could put him away for 20 years.

How cops built a case against Koeckeritz

The case against Koeckeritz can be traced back to the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2022, when a police officer encountered a frightened young woman outside a house in River Falls, Wisconsin. She is identified only as “Victim 1” in court records.

Earlier that night, the unidentified woman told the officer that her boyfriend, Koeckeritz, had poured scalding cooking grease on her neck and back because he thought it was “funny.”

“I asked why Austin would do that and she told me that is just his personality,” the officer reported.

As she spoke with the officer, the woman kept glancing fearfully back towards the house where Koeckeritz was sleeping. The woman told the officer she was afraid that her boyfriend might retaliate against her if he knew she was speaking to the police, but that she was sure Koeckeritz’s abuse would continue and she was trying to find a way out of the relationship.

The woman continued to secretly correspond with the police. She left a long letter hidden outside the house, which was picked up by another officer. In a letter detailed in court documents, she outlined a shocking story.

In the letter, the woman said she had met Koeckeritz on Facebook two years earlier, and had moved in with him a few months after that. Koeckeritz, she said, then began “forcing her into sex work.” The woman wrote that she had lost her freedom and was “basically imprisoned in this room to keep making money for him.” Koeckeritz used emotional manipulation to persuade her to perform, she later told police. She claimed he told her, “If you don’t, you don’t love me,” and, “I’ll have to get a job and you will be alone.”

Koeckeritz would force her to work as a cam girl, appearing naked on live streams and performing sex acts on herself, even when she was sick or physically unable to do so, she alleged. If she took any time off, he would force her to work longer hours. The only way she could get time off, he told her, was if she recruited other girls from local colleges to perform.

Although she believed she had made around $100,000, the woman said Koeckeritz kept control of all the money and her credit cards. He expected her to earn at least $1,000 a night, she later told police. If he disliked her performance on the stream, Koeckeritz would tell her she was “useless,” she said.

She was not allowed to see her friends or family, she wrote, and “if her family shows up to rescue her, Austin told her that he would shoot them,” according to her statement.

Koeckeritz was heavily armed, she said, and there were loaded guns scattered throughout their house. On one occasion, she told police, Koeckeritz had taken a high dose of the sleeping pill Ambien and chased her around the house with a loaded AR-15. Police later found fifteen guns on the property, records show.

The woman said she was terrified of Koeckeritz, who she described as a “dangerous person.”

The woman also shared numerous text messages, videos and photographs with the police, many of which demonstrated the control Koeckeritz exerted over her life.

In one set of messages between Koeckeritz and the woman, she tells him she “got sick” and needed to shower. “Really need to stop this,” Koeckeritz responded. “Meals exercise and all other routines are coordinated around a schedule and you getting off this early keeps screwing everything.”

In another message, she begs Koeckeritz to let her stop live streaming, telling him she feels “like crap” and the people watching her stream “are saying I look sick.”

Koeckeritz allegedly forced the woman to give him oral sex if she wanted to stop live streaming early, according to other messages shared with police.

Other messages sent by the woman to a friend memorialize individual instances of Koeckeritz’s alleged physical abuse. In one instance, she says Koeckeritz poured freezing cold water on her; in another, she says he threw her off the bed causing “deep cuts across her back.” In a third, the woman says Koeckeritz threw hot cooking grease on her bare skin for his own amusement, then called her a “bitch baby” and insisted, “Oh, come on, it wasn’t that hot.”

Koeckeritz also emotionally and verbally abused the woman, she told police. “He tries getting me to think I can’t survive without him," she wrote in a text to a friend.

“Nobody would want you, just look at you," he told her, according to her texts.

In some of the most horrifying allegations made by Koeckeritz’s alleged sex slave, she claims that Koeckeritz encouraged an underage family member to take part in sexual acts. In texts shared with police, Kockeritz says his 15-year old relative wanted to “pursue more adult themed TikTok furry stuff." He suggested the teenager could use the woman’s social media accounts to post “suggestive” photos that didn’t show her face.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>A meme Austin Taylor Koeckeritz made featuring his 'fursona'</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok</div>

A meme Austin Taylor Koeckeritz made featuring his 'fursona'

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok

The woman also said Koeckeritz was in touch with other minors via the chat app Discord, where he was “targeting juveniles and getting ‘kinky’ with them,” according to her testimony to police. The Daily Beast located a “furry” Discord server administered by Koeckeritz which included a “NSFW” channel for “explicit” content.

On two occasions, the woman told police, Koeckeritz had handcuffed his girlfriend, and encouraged his underage relative to perform sex acts on her while he watched. “It’s my job to help her discover herself,” the woman said she remembered him saying.

Both times, Koeckeritz then raped the woman in another room in the house, she said.

Immediately after the woman gave her testimony to the police, Koeckeritz was brought in for questioning. He denied her allegations, telling the officer he believed they were in a “happy relationship.” He described them as “partners” in the Boring Company, and said it was her choice to have limited contact with her family due to her “anxiety issues”.

He did not deny that he controlled the couple’s finances, nor that he carried a loaded gun with him every day. When asked by the police if he had ever handcuffed the woman, Koeckeritz “looked away from me and didn’t answer the question,” the police officer wrote in his report.

“Austin would only tell me he had nothing more to add,” the officer concluded.

Koeckeritz was then arrested on state charges of human trafficking, domestic abuse, exposing a child to harmful material, and intimidating a witness. On Jan. 19, a federal grand jury indicted the already-jailed Koeckeritz on one count of forced labor. Five days later, the state charges were dropped to make way for the federal case against Koeckeritz. Last Thursday, prosecutors advised U.S. District Court Judge Stephen L. Crocker in a letter that they are mulling additional charges.

The federal indictment against Koeckeritz was unsealed during National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Koeckeritz’s court-appointed lawyer, Joseph A. Bugni, declined to provide any additional details or context on the allegations.

“It’s not in my client’s best interest to talk about the case,” he told The Daily Beast in an email.

Koeckeritz’s troubles started as a teenager

Austin Taylor Koeckeritz was born in Stillwater, Minnesota, in January, 1994. He learned to fly a plane with the Civil Aviation Patrol before he got his driver’s license, according to a short autobiography he wrote in 2018. In it, he described himself as an “intelligent and sensitive human” who was a “self-made man.”

Koeckeritz’s adolescence was intensely troubled, police records obtained by The Daily Beast reveal.

In April 2010, when Koeckeritz was 16 years old, he ran away from home with another teenager, after saying he was spending the night with a friend, police reports show. Koeckeritz’s mother told police the two teens “were involved with some sexual activity online and they were trying to meet the people.” Koeckeritz was found the following day by police 20 miles away from his home.

Four months later, Koeckeritz was cited for shoplifting from a Walmart, police records show, and in November of that year he was investigated for stealing a phone, cash, and an expensive calculator from another student’s bag in a locker room at Stillwater High School.

After multiple incidents in which Koeckeritz was found carrying weapons, including nine-inch scissors,​ pepper spray,​ and handcuffs, his high school banned him from carrying a backpack to class or having any items concealed in his clothing, according to police records.

In one particularly disturbing report from the same year, Koeckeritz’s stepmother reported that one of Koeckeritz’s siblings observed him “cutting shotgun shells apart and putting the BB’s into medicine vials, along with pieces of metal, and gunpowder, all in separate medicine vials.” The sibling told police his brother was “getting ready to protect himself from the zombies and alien attacks that are coming in 2012 at the end of the world.”

Koeckeritz’s stepmother told police she was concerned “he may harm a family member or take it to school.” His locker and backpack were searched by high school staff, but no “contraband” was found.

After high school, Koeckeritz made plans to enlist in the military. He volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol, learning to fly planes, and joined the Minnesota National Guard in May 2012.

But the new private’s military service skidded to a halt less than six months later, when it was discovered that Koeckeritz had lied on his enlistment paperwork, according to a Minnesota National Guard spokeswoman.

Koeckeritz was discharged for not disclosing a pre-existing medical condition, Lt. Col. Kristen Augé told The Daily Beast. He was separated under what is known as an “uncharacterized discharge,” which a National Guard official described as an entry-level separation that “does not attempt to characterize service as good or bad.” In 2019, Koeckeritz filed paperwork to upgrade his discharge to honorable, but Augé said his request was denied. It is unclear what type of malady Kockeritz suffered from, and why he had fudged his intake forms.

Hannah, Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend, told The Daily Beast this week that Koeckeritz was obsessed with the military and militias when he was in his late teens.

“He was a big prepper. He was big into guns. He was big into a post-apocalypse because he thought the government was going to fail,” she said.

He regularly wore full Army combat uniform, Hannah says, and swapped his real past as a National Guard washout for one in which he claimed to have actually attained the rank of captain.

After being expelled from the military, Koeckeritz bounced around a series of low-paying jobs. Hannah said he was unable to hold onto work for very long.

“He was always into get-rich schemes, because he doesn’t want to work,” she said. “He wants to ride off somebody.”

In 2015, Koeckeritz founded his first company, Cuff LLC, according to business records. He bought several ex-cop cars, Hannah said, and fitted them out to look like police cars, adding light bars, police radios and even gun holders to the interiors. (A forum post from this period shows Koeckeritz looking for cut-rate deals on lightbars.) His business plan was to rent the cars out to local businesses, who could park them on their property to make it appear that police were patrolling, Hannah said.

Koeckeritz himself drove a vehicle painted to look like a cop car, according to Hannah.

“One side said ‘PO’ and one side said ‘LICE’,” she said.

In order to buy the vehicles, Koeckeritz took out a line of credit with American Express Bank, according to court records. But the business failed to get off the ground.

On Sept. 2, 2015, Koeckeritz was driving his souped-up fake cruiser in Anoka, Minneapolis, when he was arrested by real police, for allegedly acting as an unlicensed “protective agent.”

His cars were seized, but he ultimately was not charged. He was forced to repaint his vehicle, Hannah says, so that it could no longer be mistaken for a police car.

(Again, Koeckeritz’s dad described the incident to The Daily Beast last week as having stemmed from “wrong allegations of stuff,” arguing that “he pissed in somebody’s bowl of Wheaties in Anoka County and he wound up with somebody exaggerating things.”)

The following year, the bank sued Koeckeritz for almost $13,800 in delinquent credit card charges. The following year they sued him again, this time for $14,700 in bills, according to Wisconsin civil court records.

As he struggled with financial difficulties, Koeckeritz became more manipulative, Hannah says.

“[The abuse] wasn’t so prevalent in the beginning. It was subtle, nothing outrageous,” Hannah said, but things escalated as their relationship continued. “Once I came home from work and didn’t give him attention right away. He dumped a dirty litter box of cat litter on me while I was in the shower. Because he thought it would be funny, because I didn’t give him attention.”

Koeckeritz then found work as an armed security guard. He later wrote that the work exposed him to “the ugliest of humanity” and he felt “surrounded daily by those who have chosen to give up on life.” During this time, Koeckeritz was reportedly threatened in a Walmart parking lot by a man with an aluminum baseball bat. Koeckeritz drew his semi-automatic Beretta 92 and the attacker fled, he later told Concealed Carry magazine.

“In the house we had so many guns and so much ammunition,” Hannah told The Daily Beast of the home she shared with Koeckeritz. “Knives everywhere. I was worried he was eventually going to kill me.”

From 2017 onwards, Koeckeritz took up amateur photography, at one point having his work exhibited at a local hospital. After cycling through a series of jobs, he eventually found work with ADT, selling and overseeing security systems.

The following year, the family of Koeckeritz’s then-girlfriend told police they were deeply concerned for their 19-year-old daughter, who they believed was “possibly a victim of human trafficking or an abusive/controlling relationship,” police records show. (The Daily Beast is not naming the woman in order to protect her identity.)

An officer from the Hudson Police Department conducted a welfare check on the young woman, who said she had moved in with Koeckeritz two months earlier. She told the officer Koeckeritz “makes her do sexual things when she doesn’t want to,” and that “she thought some sexual experience felt like rape.” She said Koeckeritz told her, “just because she wasn’t into it, doesn’t mean he had raped her.” She said he had threatened that if she didn’t comply he would get angry and throw her out of the house. She denied, however, that Koeckeritz was making her “do anything sexual with anyone else or making her do anything for money.”

The 19-year-old told the police officer she was not ready to pursue any formal sexual assault charges against Koeckeritz.

During this period, Koeckeritz began to explore furry subculture, eventually developing a furry persona (known as a “fursona”) that was a large black wolf wearing a blue visor. He published his own poetry and illustrations of furries on a blog updated throughout 2019. He described one of his poems as “a letter to someone before they decide to fall in love,” adding that “the relationship could turn into abuse at any moment.”

“The key was his hand / Coiled up and ready to strike if you set off an alarm,” the poem reads.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Austin Taylor Koeckeritz is seen on his TikTok.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok</div>

Austin Taylor Koeckeritz is seen on his TikTok.

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok

By 2020, Koeckeritz was very active in his local furry community, buying fursuits in online forums, and arranging meet-ups. He was also running a growing set of social media accounts under the name of his “furry” persona, and establishing a chatroom for furries on Discord.

“About half a dozen furries, thus far, will be suiting in and around Duluth from the 4th through the 8th of July,” Koeckeritz wrote on a furry Facebook group in June 2020. “Train excursions, boat rides, photos at the mansion, bowling, escape rooms, parks, tours, museums, dining, and fireworks are all pre-planned (however you'd have to reserve your own tickets where applicable). LMK if you'd like to meet or potentially join some of our activities!”

Months later, he met the woman known as Victim 1, on the same platform.

Koeckeritz’s alleged victims join forces against him

Court documents obtained by The Daily Beast show that while Koeckeritz was allegedly forcing that girlfriend to make online pornography against her will, he was also allegedly stealing money from an ex-girlfriend.

Eighteen months before his arrest for sex trafficking, Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend, who had previously told police that he had sexually assaulted her but had not filed charges, began to suspect someone was opening credit cards in her name and stealing disability payments from her bank account, court records show.

The two had lived as a couple for four years, until she moved out in April 2020. She told police she had experienced “multiple assaults” during their relationship, according to the court documents.

The same month she left, a person using Koeckeritz’s email and home address opened two credit cards in her name. She knew Koeckeritz had her personal information, including usernames, passwords, her social security number and her driving license information.

Money began to disappear from her accounts, she told police. Her sole income came from social security checks, and these were withdrawn without her knowledge, she said. She also claimed to have never received the $1,200 issued to her as part of that year’s government COVID relief package.

Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend managed to close the credit cards, but was forced to pay them off herself, and lost around $2,600, according to court records. Less than two months before Victim 1 spoke to police, prosecutors in Wisconsin charged Koeckeritz with misdemeanor theft. The case is still ongoing.

Following Koeckeritz’s arrest, police searched a gun safe belonging to him and found an envelope addressed to the ex-girlfriend he is alleged to have stolen money from. Inside the envelope cops found “an item that can [be] attached to a .22 semi-automatic firearm [that] can be spun around to make the weapon fire rounds at a faster rate,” according to a police report, describing what appears to be a so-called auto-sear. These small, inexpensive accessories, which cost about $20 a piece, are used to turn handguns into illegal machine guns.

In the month before Victim 1 spoke to the police, Hannah said she and this ex-girlfriend teamed up to help the allegedly enslaved woman plan her escape.

Hannah had already been in touch with Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend, who told her about the financial crimes she believed he had committed, and asked if Hannah had also experienced abuse at his hands.

“We started comparing what he did to her versus what he did to me. There were a lot of similarities,” Hannah said. Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend then told Hannah she believed his current girlfriend was looking to escape him.

In July 2022, the three women—Hannah, Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend, and the woman named “Victim 1” in court documents—joined a chatroom on Discord and began messaging, Hannah said. The woman told them Koeckeritz was forcing her to work for up to 72 hours a week, in a room where temperatures sometimes rose to 90 degrees on hot days, according to Hannah, who was deeply shocked.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Austin Taylor Koeckeritz</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok/Dane County Sheriff's Office</div>

Austin Taylor Koeckeritz

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty/TikTok/Dane County Sheriff's Office

“I was really concerned for her. I wanted to get in my car and drive to the house and pick her up and take her away,” Hannah said. Fear of Koeckeritz stopped her. “He could be like, ‘You’re trespassing,’ and shoot me.”

Instead, Hannah said she and Koeckeritz’s ex-girlfriend offered their advice, support, and encouragement.

“It started with us comparing the abuse, what was going on, giving her some advice,” Hannah said. “Yes he’s done that to us. Yes, that’s how he is. It’s the same thing, but with a different person.”

They encouraged the woman to reach out to friends and family that she trusted, and tell them about her situation, Hannah said. On Aug. 2, the woman finally spoke to the police, and days later escaped from the house.

“If we weren’t there, I don’t think she would have felt supported or strong enough to be able to do it. Sometimes you need a push from somebody,” Hannah said. “You can do something that you don’t think that you’re able to do. She felt like she was able to leave him because of the knowledge that she gained from us.”

Lance Koeckeritz, for his part, continues to defend his son, insisting the whole thing is little more than a “misunderstanding.” He says he has “lots more” to say, but that he isn’t at liberty to do so.

“In life, anybody can say anything about anyone and cause a whole train wreck,” he told The Daily Beast. “I just hope that whatever the truth is, it comes up and that’s the best that anybody could hope for… We’ll just have to see what happens in court.”

For Hannah, Koeckeritz’s arrest and subsequent charges give her hope he may finally have to face the harm he has done.

“It’s about time he realizes that his actions have consequences,” she said. “Hopefully he never does this to somebody again.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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