Suspect apprehended in Sturgis home invasion, sexual assault

Editor’s note: When authorities initially reported this incident to local media to notify the public, several days after the attack and without a suspect in custody, the two individuals who were assaulted were referred to as “women,” not children.

The St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday that a 25-year-old Sturgis man has been apprehended as a suspect in a recent home invasion and criminal sexual conduct case.

On March 20, deputies were dispatched to the Sweet Lake Mobile Home Park in Sturgis for a report of a home invasion. Through their investigation, they found that two females under the age of 13 were sexually assaulted.

Subsequent inquiry led deputies to a person of interest, as video surveillance footage of a vehicle that was suspected to be involved in the incident was located and its owner identified. Investigators determined the suspect was the driver of the vehicle captured in the footage, however the suspect fled the area prior to being taken into custody for questioning.

The sheriff’s office tracked the movements of the suspect, who was traced to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Once the suspect’s general location was identified, deputies initiated a surveillance operation in the area, with the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies.

Assisting agencies included the Sturgis Police Department, Fort Wayne Police Department, St. Joseph County Central Dispatch, Indiana State Police, Michigan State Police, Indianapolis Metro Police and their Violent Crime Task Force Team, TSA, ICE, FBI, Homeland Security and Chuck’s Towing. 

“Thanks to the meticulous planning, execution, and collaboration between multiple law enforcement partners, a dangerous predator is in custody,” Undersheriff Jason Bingaman said.

The suspect, a 25-year-old Sturgis man, is charged with one count of Home Invasion 1st degree and two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st degree (person under the age of 13).