Suspect in Isabella County sex assault, homicide in custody

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
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The suspect wanted in a sexual assault and the fatal stabbing Sunday of a teen in central Michigan has been arrested, Michigan State Police said.

Isaiah Gary Gardenhire, who is also known as "Zeke," was taken into police custody without incident early Tuesday, officials said.


"Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation no further information is available at this time," they said in a statement. "We will continue to share information with our media partners as it becomes available."

Sgt. Matt Van Lente with Flint Township Police said Gardenhire turned himself in late Monday after he traveled to the Flint area in a stolen Ford Fusion. He said Gardenhire surrendered “politely” shortly after 11 p.m. outside a liquor store, WJRT-TV reported.

The station reported that Gardenhire called WJRT-TV shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday, saying he wanted to surrender, and the station put him in contact with police, who negotiated his surrender.

Officials said Monday Gardenhire was wanted in connection with an incident at a home on South Isabella Road in Union Township in Isabella County. Investigators from the state police's Mount Pleasant Post were called at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday to the home for an alleged sexual assault of an adult woman and homicide of a female teen. Union Township is about 160 miles north of Detroit and about 4 miles west of Mount Pleasant.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Gardenhire was discharged from prison Feb. 12, 2020, after serving about four years for a felon possessing a firearm conviction. He was also convicted in 2000 of assaulting a jail employee/attempting to escape and attempted felonious assault. He was sentenced to three years in prison for each charge.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

Associated Press contributed.

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