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Court hearing for Isabella County murder suspect cut short after bad behavior

Isaiah Gardenhire was rude and disruptive during arraignment on murder and sexual assault charges
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - The search for a Mount Pleasant murder suspect came to an end in Genesee County and ABC12 played a major role in the suspect turning himself in.

Isaiah “Zeke” Gardenhire turned himself in to the Flint Township Police Department just after 11 p.m. Monday at the Montego Liquor store on Linden Road. He was later picked up by Michigan State Police.

Police had been searching for Gardenhire in connection with the murder of a 13-year-old girl and sexual assault of a woman on Isabella Road in Union Township outside Mount Pleasant early Sunday. The teen had been stabbed and later died from her injuries.

The two-day search for Gardenhire kept part of Mid-Michigan on edge. Michigan State Police advised residents around Mount Pleasant to keep their doors locked and stay inside while Shepherd Public Schools operated in secure mode on Monday.

Gardenhire called the ABC12 newsroom around 10:40 p.m. and said he wanted to turn himself in to police. ABC12 helped arrange the meeting between him and Flint Township police later in the evening.

“This is certainly a horrific tragedy and completely senseless loss of life,” said Isabella County Prosecutor David Gardner. “We know that these events caused an entire community to be on edge. We’re confident that any harm or fear that was caused by Mr Gardenhire is now over.”

Gardenhire appeared by video in an Isabella County courtroom on Tuesday for arraignment on 12 charges, including first-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual assault. The hearing was cut short after he displayed rude and disruptive behavior.

Gardenhire’s alleged 45-hour crime spree left the 13-year-old girl dead and two women the victims of a sexual assault.

It all began at a home on Isabella Road in Union Township around 3 a.m. Sunday. That’s where police say Gardenhire assaulted his live-in girlfriend and stabbed her 13-year-old daughter, who later died.

He then took off from that residence and ended up at the Jamestown apartment complex nearby. Police he was hiding in a vacant apartment and then at some point entered an occupied apartment, where he allegedly held two people hostage, sexually assaulted a woman and then took off in their Ford Focus.

Gardenhire was on the run from police until Monday evening, when he called ABC12 and turned himself in to police.

He was free on bond from another sexual assault case in Mason County, when this week’s alleged crimes took place.

Gardenhire is expected to be back in court Wednesday morning to complete his arraignment.

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