Search near Sleeping Bear Dunes
Photo by Jim Madole - on Good Morning America's website
GLEN HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) - A wanted man who disappeared with his three children in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park, will be formally charged with domestic violence Wednesday.
Nearly 16 hours after their search began, the Leelanau Sheriff's Department brought Daniel Elliott, 50 out from Dune Valley Road in the back of a deputy squad car.
Sheriff Mike Borkovich believes Elliott and his three children, ages 14, 10, and 9 may have been in the park since Sunday night. The family was spotted by deputies at 7:50 p.m. Monday, walking off a large, wooded hill near Dune Valley Road.
Sheriff Borkovich says the family, who are from metro Detroit, were on an impromptu camping trip, without any of the necessary supplies.
"Call it a rogue camping event, take off in 90 degrees without water, food," Borkovich told WZZM 13.
Borkovich says the family was clearly distressed and extremely dehydrated, but not injured. He says it's possible they were trying to hide because Coast Guard helicopters circled all day through that area and didn't spot them.
He believes the family came out of the woods once the helicopters grounded for the day. Borkovich says they had to trudge through swamps and thick woods to get to their destination from the car, which was about a mile away.
The family was visiting friends in the area for the weekend. Borkovich says the man's wife made a domestic violence call to Emmett County Sunday morning.
A "Be On The Lookout" order was issued for his silver Mercedes that day. A Sleeping Bear Dunes park ranger found it around 4 a.m. Monday at Maritime Museum, and the search started soon after. A person reported seeing the family by the trail in the morning.
Despite rumors, authorities didn't find anything unusual in the car.
"We didn't find any weapons in the car, no sign of assaults, no signs of anything," said Borkovich. "Truthfully, and straightforwardly, anytime a parent without consent of other parent takes off with kids, especially juvenile kids, we are concerned," he said.
Borkovich says the mother told him Elliott and the children have almost no camping experience.
Borkovich says he doesn't belief the father had any plans to hurt his children and says his wife and his family say he is a good person.
"It's a very strange event but it all ended well," he said.
The father was taken into custody for the domestic violence incident from Sunday. Borkovich says he likely will not face additional charges from Monday's incident. Authorities are not releasing his name until he is arraigned court Tuesday in Emmett County.