WHITEFISH TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Two Upper Peninsula men are facing a litany of charges after two adults and four children were tied up and a 5-year-old boy was kidnapped in Chippewa County, triggering an Amber Alert Wednesday night.
George Cunningham, 53, and Jon Stygler, 63, are the men accused of the crimes, and they were arraigned Thursday on kidnapping, assault, home invasion and child endangerment charges—among others.
The chase started at 7:15 p.m., when Chippewa County Sheriff deputies responded to a report of a domestic dispute involving a stabbing in Whitefish Township.
But when police arrived, they learned the situation had escalated beyond that: a 5-year-old had been kidnapped by two suspects who tied up an entire family.
Police say the two men first found a woman outside the house and bound and gagged her before putting her in a vehicle. The suspects then went into the house where they encountered one man and four children.
The man and the children were all sprayed with chemicals, had their hands zip tied and mouths duct taped shut under the threat of a knife. Once those five people were tied up, the men started to search the house for the 5-year-old boy.
While they looked, one of the family members was able to break free from the zip ties and stabbed one of the suspects.
But the men still managed to find the boy and left the house in a camouflage pick-up truck. Police said one of the suspects is the boy's biological father.
Police tracked down the vehicle and eventually found it parked in a driveway about five miles away from the original scene. Investigators looked at surveillance video from homes nearby and learned that the suspects were now on foot, heading east across Lake Superior towards Canada.
Michigan DNR units and deputies got on snowmobiles and chased the men across the ice.
The suspects were caught about two miles off the Lake Superior shoreline. The 5-year-old boy was also with them.
Police identified Cunningham and Stygler as the suspects. Cunningham is a registered sex offender and was on a tether at the time of the kidnapping. However, he cut the tether shortly after the incident as a way to avoid being found by law enforcement.
Cunningham's bond was denied and Stygler's was set a $1 million with a tether. Police are still investigating the situation, and additional charges may be added.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan State Police, Board Patrol, ICE Agents, FBI, and the Whitefish Township EMS team and Chippewa County Central Dispatch all assisted the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office in the case.
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