Chippewa County child found safely, both suspects in custody


    George Cunningham (left) and John Stygler (right) were taken into custody by the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday in connection to the abduction of Zephaniau Cunningham, 5. (Photo Courtesy: Chippewa County Sheriff's Office/Michigan Amber Alert)

    CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A Chippewa County child is safe after investigators said he was kidnapped from his home by two armed men.

    An Amber Alert was issued for Zephaniau George Cunningham, 5, around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday.

    The Amber Alert that was sent out Wednesday night after Zephaniau George Cunningham, 5, was abducted from his Chippewa County home. (Devon Mahieu)

    According to Chippewa County Sheriff Mike Bitnar, the boy was taken from a residence in Paradise Township in a camo-colored 1986 Ford F-250 truck with a canoe on top.

    Bitnar said the suspects, George Cunningham, 53, and John Stygler, took Zephaniau to a residence on Whitefish Bay off of Whitefish Point Road.

    "The suspects in the case actually zip-tied and duct taped five individuals inside the house and then one of the individuals was able to get free and kind of interrupted whatever plan at that point," said Chippewa County Undersheriff Greg Postma.


    George Cunningham (left) and John Stygler (right) were taken into custody by the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday in connection to the abduction of Zephaniau Cunningham, 5. (Photo Courtesy: Chippewa County Sheriff's Office/Michigan Amber Alert)

    A short time later, investigators found the truck but not Cunningham or Stygler.

    Both Cunningham and Stygler were taken into custody shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday.

    According to Bitnar, the child was found safe out on the ice of Lake Superior.

    "We at that point, had resources on scene with snow sleds," said Postma. "DNR was immediately able to deploy those sleds and we were able to track them and DNR and our officers ultimately caught up with them on the ice and were able to take them into custody on Lake Superior and bring them back."

    The relationship of the suspects and the child is unknown at this time.

    Due to the incident, school was canceled for students at Whitefish Township School.



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