Skip to content

Michigan men accused of kidnapping 5-year-old, attempting to cross Lake Superior into Canada

One suspect is a registered sex offender
cruiser AdobeStock_197047804
Stock image

On March 13, 2019 at approximately 7:15 p.m., Chippewa County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to an address on North Whitefish Point Road in Whitefish Township, for a report of a domestic dispute involving a stabbing.

Upon arrival, deputies learned that two male subjects (had allegedly) kidnapped, with the use of weapons, a five-year-old boy from the home and fled the scene northbound towards Whitefish Point lighthouse. 

Prior to taking the child, (it is alleged that) the male subjects had located an adult female outside of the residence and then bound and gagged her before placing her in a vehicle parked outside the residence.

Suspects then gained entry to the residence where a male adult and four children were encountered.

The two male suspects were armed with knives, a chemical spray, and blunt objects. The victims were sprayed with the chemicals and ziptied while having their mouths duct taped shut.

The two male suspects then began to look for the five-year-old boy located in the house. While they searched, one of the family members was able to cut themselves loose from the zipties and stabbed at least one of the suspects.

Having located the five-year-old, the two male suspects, one of which is the biological father, fled outside and left the scene in a camouflage pick-up.

Law enforcement officers responding to the scene began to look for the suspect vehicle, eventually finding it on BlueBerry Lane approximately five miles north of the original venue, parked in a driveway.

While running surveillance on the house and making contact with occupants, officers learned that the two suspects and the child had left the truck and were now on foot heading East across Lake Superior towards Canada.

Michigan DNR units and deputies did utilize snowmobiles immediately to track the suspects as they fled on foot through the snow and slush. Approximately two miles east of the Lake Superior shoreline, officers encountered both suspects and the kidnapped child.

The suspects were taken into custody without incident and the child was safely secured. All parties involved were checked for exposure when they arrived back to the mainland. 

The first suspect was identified as George Stephen Cunningham, 53 years of age. He is also identified as a registered sex offender and was currently on tether. In an attempt to hide or escape detections, he did cut his tether shortly after the incident.

The second suspect was identified as Jon Scott Stygler, 68 years of age.

Both suspects were lodged at the Chippewa County Sheriff Office on a host of charges including but not limited to; kidnapping, assault, home invasion and child endangerment. 

This investigation continues and additional charges may be added.

Assisting the Chippewa County Sheriff with the arrest of the suspects and recovery of the kidnapped child was the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan State Police, Border Patrol, ICE agents, FBI, the Whitefish Township EMS team and Chippewa County Central Dispatch.