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Police confirm bodies found in state game area are missing Portage couple

Gary and Laura Johnson wings.png
Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 18:01:24-05

PORTAGE, Mich. — Portage Public Safety tells FOX 17 the bodies found in a state game area last week are Gary and Laura Johnson.

The investigation into the Johnson's disappearance began Tuesday when police were called to check on the couple at their home after Gary failed to show up to work for a few days. They did not find the couple at their house on Romence Road but say they did find 'signs of violence.'

Public Safety Director Nick Armold says the manner of death for the Johnsons will be listed as homicide.

Earlier today, Gary Johnson's employer, TowerPinkster, released a statement on Facebook, commending Johnson for his hard work and wishing for the best for his family..

The couple's son has been named a person of interest in the case. Nicholas Johnson was arrested on a bench warrant after absconding parole last year. He is also facing weapons charges because he was found with an extra gun magazine and is not allowed to carry a weapon due to his criminal history.

No formal charges related to the elder Johnson's disappearance have been filed against him.

The judge at his arraignment said Nicholas Johnson has a history of mental illness. His criminal record includes a home invasion at his parents' house in 2019. Police also say he had his missing mother's car at the time of his most recent arrest.

Police also named Johnson a person of interest in the 2018 disappearance of Bonifacio Pena, a 17-year-old last seen in Portage. He has been considered a person of interest early in the investigation into Pena's case, with police saying Nicholas was the last person possibly to see Pena.

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