Michigan man, becomes a person of interest in the disappearance of his parents three years after they obtained a restraining order against him because they ‘feared for their safety’
Nicholas Johnson, 27, is was wanted on outstanding felony warrants, in Western Michigan before he was declared a person of interest
He was taken into custody after he was arrested on murder charges. Waanted on outstanding felony warrants, according to police
Police in Portage said he is a ‘person of interest’ in disappearance of his parents
Gary Johnson, 64, and his wife, Laura, 65, have been missing for over a week
Police went to their home on Tuesday morning to conduct a welfare check
Police uncovered signs of freshly dug dirt in backyard
Police chief said evidence found inside indicates that Johnson were murdered
Nicholas was arrested in an apartment complex about a mile away, police said
At time of his arrest, he was armed with a pistol and spare magazine, police said
In 2018, his parents sought personal protection order against their son – Nicholas was accused of assaulting his parents and breaking into their home
A Michigan man has been named a ‘person of interest’ in the case of his missing parents who police believe were murdered – three years after they asked a court for a protective order against him.
Nicholas Johnson, 27, is in custody after he was arrested on outstanding warrants in unrelated cases, according to police in Portage, Michigan, just outside of Kalamazoo.
When officers took him into custody on Tuesday about a mile from his parents’ home, he was armed with a pistol and a spare magazine.
Police say evidence collected inside the home of his parents, Gary, 64, and Laura Johnson, 65, indicate that violence may have been the cause of their disappearance.
On Tuesday morning just after 9am, police arrived at the Johnsons’ home on Romence Road in Portage in order to do a welfare check.
According to police, investigators discovered a 12-inch deep hole in the backyard that appeared to be freshly dug, though nothing was found inside the hole.
Officers responded to the home after they were told that Gary Johnson had not reported to work in close to a week, according to MLive.com.
Portage Public Safety Chief Nick Armold said that officers have remained at the home since.
While investigating inside the home, police found signs that the missing couple fell victim to violence.
According to Armold, investigators discovered a 12-inch deep hole in the backyard that appeared to be freshly dug. He said nothing was found inside the hole.
‘We’re going to be there as long as we think we need to be there to make sure that we’ve uncovered everything that we can find,’ he said.
‘We certainly hope that we are wrong, but things are leading us to believe that this is a homicide,’ Portage Public Safety Chief Nick Armold said
‘It looks like we’ll be there for a couple more days.’
Chief Armold declined to specify other pieces of evidence found inside the home, though he said that investigators have determined the couple was likely murdered.
‘We certainly hope that we are wrong, but things are leading us to believe that this is a homicide,’ Armold said.
‘While I can’t go into the specific evidence, the obvious piece of the puzzle is that the Johnsons are still missing.
‘We have all of their vehicles. We have their cell phones. There is no reasonable explanation as to why they are gone.’
Gary’s car was found at the couple’s home, according to Armold. Laura’s vehicle was located at Milham Meadows Apartment Complex about a mile north of the house, where they also found Nicholas.
Nicholas, who was reported to have been hiding in a storage unit inside the complex, was wanted on felony and misdemeanor bench warrants. He was arraigned on Wednesday on charges of weapons possession.
Police found ammunition inside the storage unit, Fox 17 TV reported.
Nicholas also had two outstanding warrants including a felony home invasion – third degree stemming from a 2019 incident, according to MLive.com. Nicholas allegedly broke into his parents’ home on September 7, 2019 in violation of a no-contact order.
Kalamazoo County District Judge Richard Santoni issued separate $100,000 cash bonds on each of the two active felony cases, citing the risk that Nicholas could attempt to flee.
‘I have reviewed, somewhere in the range of, about a half dozen search warrants that deal with the ongoing issue,’ Santoni said of the investigation into the disappearance of Nicholas’ parents. ‘I can’t ignore that.
‘I can’t with any kind of certainty indicate what happened, what the defendant’s level of involvement might be, but I can’t ignore it.
‘It creates a cloud, essentially, over all these proceedings, and If I were to ignore it, I would simply be ignoring reality and I’m not going to do that.’
In March 2018, Nicholas’ parents submitted a request for a personal protection order against their son.
‘Gary and I are concerned for our safety and others safety. I need him to stay away from us for a while and he needs to seek mental health help,’ Laura wrote in the application obtained by WMMT-TV.
The request was made after two incidents in February 2018. Laura claimed that Nicholas assaulted her and her husband, damaged property, and refused to leave their home.
According to court records, Nicholas was charged with domestic violence and malicious destruction of property.
The parents claimed Nicholas assaulted them on multiple occasions.
On one occasion on February 21, 2018, Nicholas who was upset his girlfriend broke up with him, pushed his mother backwards, injuring her head and causing bruising, it was alleged.
‘He was told not to come back to our house at that point. He has previously pushed my husband, threatened us,’ Laura wrote in her application.
A week later, Nicholas allegedly crawled into the basement window and entered his parents’ home.
He then refused to leave and broke three windows with his fist, according to documents.
Laura also wrote in her application that Nicholas refused to seek treatment for mental illness and also refused offers of housing.
‘He is now homeless,’ Laura wrote.
‘At this point, Gary and I are concerned for our safety and others safety. We are done with allowing him to keep destroying our house and property.’