Men charged in U.P. kidnapping, home invasion

WHITEFISH TOWNSHIP — Two men were arrested and arraigned on charges of kidnapping, assault, home invasion and child endangerment in Whitefish Township Thursday.

George Stephen Cunningham, 53, and Jon Scott Stygler, 68, were both arraigned in the 91st District Court on charges of kidnapping, assault, home invasion and child endangerment. No bond was set for Cunningham and Stygler’s bond was set at $1 million with a tether. Cunningham is a registered sex offender and was on a tether before the incident, but cut it off when he fled.

On Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department deputies were called to a home on North Whitefish Point Road in Whitefish Township for a report of a domestic dispute involving a stabbing.

Upon arrival, deputies learned Cunningham and Stygler kidnapped, with the use of weapons, a five-year-old boy from the home and fled the scene, heading north bound towards Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

According to deputies, when Cunningham and Stygler arrived at the home they located a woman outside the house and bound and gagged her before placing her in a vehicle parked outside. Cunningham and Stygler then broke into the house where they encountered a man and four children.

Cunningham and Stygler were armed with knives, a chemical spray and blunt objects. The occupants of the house were sprayed with the chemical and zip tied while having their mouths taped shut.

The two men then began looking for the 5-year-old boy, who is Cunningham’s biological son. According to the deputies, while the two men searched one of the family members was able to cut themselves loose and stabbed at least one of the suspects.

Having located the boy, the two men ran outside and fled the scene in a camouflage pickup.

The officers who responded to the scene began to look for the vehicle and eventually found it on BlueBerry Lane, approximately five miles north of the house where the crimes were committed.

While running surveillance on the house and making contact with the occupants, officers learned Cunningham, Stygler and the child had left the truck and were on foot heading east across Lake Superior towards Canada.

Michigan DNR units and deputies used snowmobiles and tracked the suspects through the snow and slush.

Approximately two miles east of the Lake Superior shoreline, officers encountered both men and the kidnapped child.

Cunningham and Stygler were taken into custody without incident and the child was safely secured. Everyone involved was checked for exposure.

Assisting the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department were the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police, Boarder Patrol, ICE Agents, FBI, and the Whitefish Township EMS team and Chippewa County Central Dispatch.

The case remains under investigation.