Son of Michigan couple declared missing two weeks ago is charged with open homicide after their dead bodies were found in the woods
Nicholas Alexander Johnson, 27, of Portage, MI., has been arrested and charged with two counts of open murder in the deaths of his parents
Officials said the bodies of the suspect’s parents, Gary Johnson, 64, and Laura Johnson, 65, were found at Gourdneck State Game Area in Portage on Friday
There deaths was ruled homicide on Monday
He is also charged with two counts of felony firearm and one count for possession of a firearm
In an unrelated case, Johnson has also reportedly been named a person of interest in the 2018 disappearance of Bonifacio Pena
The bodies of a Michigan couple who went missing earlier this month have been found in the woods and their 27-year-old son has been charged with two counts of murder for their deaths, two weeks days after they were declared missing.
The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office issues 2 counts of open murder against 27-year-old Nicholas Alexander Johnson in the murder of his parents.
Nicholas Johnson was charged after the bodies of his parents Gary Johnson, 64, and Laura Johnson, 65, were unearthed on Friday.
Officials said the bodies of the couple, last seen alive on February 3, were found Friday at Gourdneck State Game Area in Portage, about three miles from their home.
Experts from Western Michigan University as well as police K-9 units were involved in the search and recovery of remains of the missing couple.
Their deaths will be listed as homicides, authorities said Monday: “As sad as this is, this is the result we thought we were going to get,” Armold had said after the bodies were discovered.
Police entered the home last Tuesday and found signs of violence after Gary’s employer said he had not logged on for work, Portage Public Safety Director Nick Armold said last week.
Their alleged killer, Nicholas Johnson, has also been named a person of interest in the 2018 disappearance of 17-year-old Bonifacio Pena of Gobles, WWNT reported.
Though evidence suggests that Pena was last seen with Johnson in 2018, police said, his disappearance has been a mystery.
Johnson was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Kalamazoo’s 8th District Court
In addition to the murder charges, Johnson was charged with two counts of felony firearm and one count for possession of a firearm, WXMI reported.
Alleged criminals can be charged with the catchall open murder, a combination of first- and second-degree murder, under Michigan law.
Prosecutors use an open murder charge to allow the jury to determine which degree is appropriate based upon evidence.
He is expected to be arraigned in Kalamazoo County District Court on Thursday.
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.
Johnson was taken into custody on February 9 after he was arrested on outstanding warrants in unrelated cases, according to police in Portage, Michigan, just outside of Kalamazoo.
He was armed with a pistol and a spare magazine when officers took him into custody about a mile from his parents’ home.
Police said last week that evidence collected inside the home of his parents indicate that violence may have been the cause of their disappearance.
Last Tuesday, just after 9am, police arrived at the Johnsons’ home on Romence Road in Portage in order to do a welfare check.
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. Laura Johnson had retired from from the West Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo, in 2020 after 17 years.
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.
‘It looks like we’ll be there for a couple more days.’
Police said that evidence found inside the home in Portage indicates that the Johnsons fell victim to violence.
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.
Armold declined to specify other pieces of evidence found inside the home, though he said at the time 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. The events of Friday appeared to have confirmed his worst fears.