Michigan man, 27, becomes a person of interest in the disappearance of his parents


Nicholas Johnson, 27, who is in police custody after he was arrested on outstanding warrants in unrelated cases, is a ‘person of interest’ in the disappearance of his parents, police in Portage, Michigan said

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.

Police say evidence collected inside the home of his parents, Gary (left), 64, and Laura Johnson (right), 65, indicate that violence may have been the cause of their disappearance

Police say evidence collected inside the home of his parents, Gary (left), 64, and Laura Johnson (right), 65, indicate that violence may have been the cause of their disappearance

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. Police are seen above at the home of Gary and Laura Johnson in Portage, Michigan, on Tuesday

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. Police are seen above at the home of Gary and Laura Johnson in Portage, Michigan, on Tuesday

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.

Police said that evidence found inside the home in Portage indicates that the Johnsons fell victim to violence

Police said that evidence found inside the home in Portage indicates that the Johnsons fell victim to violence

Police arrived at the home on Tuesday morning after Gary failed to report to work for nearly a week

Police arrived at the home on Tuesday morning after Gary failed to report to work for nearly a week

‘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

‘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.’

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.

Police allege Nicholas 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.

According to court records, Gary and Laura Johnson (pictured) obtained a personal protection order against their son in 2018 after he allegedly assaulted them on multiple occasions

According to court records, Gary and Laura Johnson (pictured) obtained a personal protection order against their son in 2018 after he allegedly assaulted them on multiple occasions

‘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.

In March 2018, Laura filed an application for a personal protection order. 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

In March 2018, Laura filed an application for a personal protection order. 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

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

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.’

Anyone with information related to the investigation was asked to contact the Portage Department of Public Safety at 269-329-4567 or Silent Observer online or at 269-343-2100. 



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