GLEN ARBOR — A man wanted on a domestic violence charge and his three young children were found safe at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore after a lengthy search with ground crews and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.
“The kids are all OK. The man is OK,” said Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich. They were found Monday about 7:50 p.m. on a hillside a rugged mile from where the man’s car was found abandoned about 13 hours earlier.
The 50-year-old man from the Detroit suburb of Orchard Lake was arrested on the domestic violence charge and was being questioned. He was to be jailed overnight and arraigned today in Emmet County, where the charge originated, Borkovich said.
It appears the man and his children arrived Sunday and spent the night in the woods without food, water or shelter, Borkovich said. He said they were “physically exhausted,” and hungry and thirsty. The children are the man’s 14- and 10-year-old daughters and his 9-year-old son.
The motive for the man’s actions was unclear.
“It seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment thing,” said Phil Akers, chief ranger at the national lakeshore.
Borkovich characterized it as “a rogue camping event.” He said the man’s name would be withheld until he appeared in court.
The man was the subject of a massive search after an empty car he’d been driving was discovered near a museum at the lakeshore on Monday about 7 a.m. Borkovich said a park ranger ran the license plate and learned there was an alert for the vehicle.
There was something about the car itself that caused authorities to be concerned, but Borkovich declined to be specific.
Heavy rains that swept over the park Monday morning hampered tracking dogs’ efforts to find the man and his children.