Sketch released of suspect in Tuscola County abduction

Wells Township abduction suspect (MSP, 11.1.16)
Wells Township abduction suspect (MSP, 11.1.16)

Michigan State Police investigating an alleged abduction and sexual assault in Tuscola County released a sketch of one of the suspects late Tuesday.

The sketch shows the suspect wearing an “MSU” baseball cap and sporting a thin moustache and goatee.

He is one of two suspects who allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted the victim.

MSP said the adult female reported the incident Sunday evening.

Lt. Todd Mapes of MSP-Caro Post said the woman was allegedly abducted between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday on Riley Road between Pierce and East Dayton roads after she saw a man on the side of the roadway and stopped her vehicle to assist him before she was forced into his car.

“We don’t have anything except it was two suspects – one in his early 20s and taller and the other in his late 20s to early 30s – both white males,” said Mapes.

Wells Township Treasurer Pat Gettel said she didn’t even hear about the incident until noon Tuesday.

Gettel said the incident was a red flag for her because of the lack of immediate information provided to those who live in the area.

She also said it was a concern to her that the incident happened during daylight hours.

Crimes like these generally don’t occur in Wells Township, Gettel added.

According to American Fact Finder, a part of the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 Wells Township had 1,773 residents. There are 686 housing units and and the median household income is $42,688 and a median age of 42. Nearly 13 percent of Wells Township residents lived below the poverty line in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the total area is 35.4 square miles.

“It’s really not what we want,” said Gettel. “We all want to make sure we and our families are safe. I would like to know who the victim is just to know if she’s from Caro. It doesn‘t make me feel uncomfortable but people need to be more diligent.”TC - WELLSABDUCT GRAPHIC1

The victim was allegedly driven to an unknown location and assaulted in the suspect car, a dark color, older Chevrolet Lumina.

Others have said they didn’t find out about the crime until days after it happened.

Rosemarie Dumke, a resident on Riley Road, said she had no knowledge of it until her neighbor said something happened in the area.

“It’s pretty sad,” Dumke said about the incident. “It’s hard to believe it happened in Caro.”

Mapes said the woman was brought back to the same location and later received some medical attention.

Township Supervisor Melvin Witkovsky called the alleged incident “disgusting.”

“It’s one of those things that show our society – it’s disgusting,” Witkovsky told The Advertiser. “It shows you can’t help somebody without these disgusting ones trying to take advantage of someone.”

Wells Township is a central location for deer bow hunting season (Oct. 1 to Nov. 14), Witkovsky said, which means an increased amount of visitors to the community.

Witkovsky said he thinks there are overall good people in the township but wants the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

If caught, Mapes said both suspects could face serious charges that include kidnapping, false imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct.

According to the Michigan Penal Code Section 750.349, kidnapping is defined as one who knowingly restrains another person against his or her will with the intent to hold that person for ransom or reward, use that person as a shield or a hostage, engage in criminal sexual penetration or criminal sexual contact, take the person outside the state of Michigan or hold that person in involuntary servitude. It is a felony and is punishable for life or any number of years, a fine of $50,000 or both.

The penal code section 750.349b describes unlawful imprisonment as a person who commits a crime by knowingly restraining another person by means of a weapon or dangerous instrument, the restrained person was secretly confined or the individual was restrained to facilitate another felony or the flight of a felony. Under this charge, if convicted, the perpetrators commit a felony and could face no more than 15 years or a fine of $20,000 or both.

Finally, criminal sexual conduct in the penal code section 750.520 states various facets of the crime in four degrees – first and third involving penetration and second and fourth for sexual contact. Penalties vary based on the age of the victim and the circumstances of the crime.

This is the only case like this in Wells Township so far this year, Mapes said. And despite location, he warns residents to be aware crimes like these can happen anywhere.

“Even though we’re out in the Thumb, crime is everywhere,” he added.

Mapes said to avoid abduction, residents should make sure to be aware of their surroundings, be cautious, stay in his or her vehicle and contact local law enforcement especially if the situation seems suspicious.

“Don’t pick up strangers and be mindful of safety,” Mapes warned.

If anyone witnessed suspicious activity in the area, contact MSP-Caro Post at 989-673-2156 and law enforcement ask if residents suspect any questionable activity to call 911 immediately.

Debanina Seaton is a reporter for The Advertiser and can be reached at debanina@tcadvertiser.com

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