Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 29, 2013

Dad refuses psych exam, shirt

BY MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — PETOSKEY — An Emmet County judge upped the bond for an Orchard Lake father who disappeared into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with his three children and hid from authorities, an incident spurred by a dispute with his wife.

Daniel Gerard Elliott, 50, stood shirtless and mute through his Wednesday arraignment in Emmet County’s 90th District Court on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Judge James Erhart raised Elliott’s bond from $10,000 to $100,000 cash or surety, with a condition — which Elliott has so far refused — that he undergo a mental health evaluation.

“He must have it done prior to being released on bond,” said Lisa Smith, 90th District Court administrator.

Elliott faces the domestic violence charge after he had a physical confrontation with his wife in a car on Sunday and left her on U.S. 131. He then took his three children — ages 14, 10 and 9 — into Sleeping Bear Dunes on a “camping” trip without food or water. His wife filed a missing persons report and expressed concern about his mental state, but stated she did not think he would harm the children.

Authorities spent about 13 hours searching for the missing family in Sleeping Bear Dunes on Monday before a Leelanau County sheriff’s deputy spotted them just south of Dune Valley Road near Glen Haven. The four deliberately hid from authorities through the search and were all found hungry and thirsty, but in good health.

Elliott was arrested on the domestic violence charge and an Emmet County magistrate initially set his bond at $10,000 with the condition he undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his release. Emmet County Sheriff Peter Wallin said Elliot refused any evaluation as of Wednesday.

“It was felt he should have a talk with them before we release him,” Wallin said. “He has yet to meet with them.”

Wallin didn’t know why Elliott chose not to wear a shirt during the court hearing.

Emmet County Prosecutor James Linderman said his office requested the judge increase the bond. He said he “can’t speak to” the potential for additional charges.

The judge on Wednesday also set or continued bond conditions that Elliott have no contact with his wife or children, remain in Emmet County with a GPS monitor, and undergo daily Breathalyzer tests.

Elliott’s court-appointed attorney, Kyle Legel, the former Otsego County prosecutor, didn’t return a call for comment. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11.