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Portage police believe missing couple is dead

"We're leaning towards this being a homicide"
Portage Gary Laura Johnson House Crime Scene.jpg
Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 11, 2021

PORTAGE, Mich. — Investigators say evidence is pointing to a grim end for Gary and Laura Johnson, the couple from Portage who've been missing for days.

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An undated photos of Gary and Laura Johnson

Nick Armold, Director of Portage Public Safety told FOX 17 Thursday that detectives believe the Johnsons are dead, based on information they've collected the past two days.

Officers responded to the home on Romence Drive Tuesday when Gary Johnson's employer called for a welfare check when Johnson did not report for work. Armold says the officers found tracks in the backyard leading to freshly disturbed ground underneath a large pine tree. Thinking it could be a shallow grave, the officers entered the home, where they found evidence of violence. A team of investigators descended on the house. Nothing was found in the ground.

Armold says the Johnsons were last seen on February 3. He does not expect to find them alive.

The Johnsons' son Nicholas was taken into custody Tuesday. During a hearing Wednesday prosecutors revealed that although the charges the younger Johnson faces are unrelated to the couple's disappearance, many of the older cases against him involve his parents.

Nicholas Johnson was arraigned on a new charge of felon in possession with a firearm. Prosecutors say when police arrested Johnson, he had a pistol and spare magazine. Officers also found ammo inside a storage unit at Milham Meadows Apartments, where Johnson is believed to have been living. Police also found one of Gary and Laura Johnson's vehicles near the apartment complex.

Johnson also has on-going cases of obstructing police and 3rd degree home invasion.

Johnson's past convictions include an illegal entry case where he broke into his parents' home in 2019. As part of his sentence, he was ordered to not have contact with his parents.

Bond was set at $100,000.

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