Abduction suspects charged in Chippewa County Court

Mar 14, 2019

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   Two men have been charged in connection with the abduction of a child in Chippewa County Wednesday.

George Cunningham
Credit Chippewa County Sheriff's Office

The Sheriff’s Office says George Cunningham, 53, and Jon Stygler, 68, were arraigned Thursday on charges of kidnapping, assault, home invasion, and child endangerment. Officials say additional charges may be added.

Wednesday around 7:15 p.m. deputies were dispatched to a home on North Whitefish Point Road in Whitefish Township on a report of a domestic dispute. They learned the two suspects had bound and gagged a woman and left her in a vehicle outside the house. The men then entered the house armed with knives, a chemical spray, and blunt objects. The suspects sprayed a man and four children inside the house with the chemical, tied them up with zip ties, and put duct tape over their mouths. As the two searched for a 5-year-old boy in the home one of the family members was able to cut themselves loose and stab at least one of the suspects.

Cunningham and Stylger found the boy and fled north in a pickup truck. One of the men is the child’s biological father.

Jon Stygler
Credit Chippewa County Sheriff's Office

Officers found the truck five miles away and learned the three were walking east on lake ice toward Canada. Using snowmobiles, deputies and DNR officers tracked the suspects through the snow and slush and caught them about two miles east of the Lake Superior shoreline. The boy was recovered safely.

Cunningham is a registered sex offender who had cut off his GPS tether. He remains lodged without bond. Stygler is lodged on a $1 million bond with tether.

Also assisting in the incident were the Michigan State Police, Border Patrol, ICE Agents, FBI, Whitefish Township EMS, and Chippewa County Central Dispatch.