Lawton man arrested on sexual assault charges

By: 
Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz

    LAWTON - A 55-year-old Lawton man faces several charges after he allegedly held a woman at knifepoint and physically and sexually assaulted her, according to a press release from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.
    The suspect, Jimmy Lee Mitchell, was charged by the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office with two counts of  criminal sexual conduct (first degree), and one count each  of  kidnapping, armed  robbery and being a habitual offender.
    Mitchell was arraigned by Judge Michael McKay in 7th District Court Paw Paw. Bond was set at $1 million.
    Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott reported that the incident occurred Tuesday, Nov. 5, between 7 and 9:30 p.m.  Abbott said a young woman at the Main St. Laundromat, 19 N. Main St., in downtown Lawton, agreed to give Mitchell a ride home to the Paw Paw area.  During the ride, the suspect held her at knifepoint and forced her to drive to a nearby secluded cornfield, where she was physically and sexually assaulted.  The suspect then forced the victim to drive him into Paw Paw, where he robbed her, then he exited the vehicle on foot. The incident was immediately reported to Van Buren County Central Dispatch.
    Deputies responded to the scene, set up a perimeter near the last known location of the suspect, and a K-9 track was conducted. The K-9 and handler from the Michigan State Police were able to locate the suspect, matching the description, who was taken into custody.
     The suspect and victim were interviewed by detectives from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.  Mitchell was subsequently arrested and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail on all four charges.
    The victim received medical treatment from Bronson LakeView Hospital, Paw Paw, and was released.
    The incident remains under investigation and will be submitted to the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
    Assisting agencies included the Paw Paw, Lawton and Mattawan police departments, Michigan State Police K-9 Unit, and Michigan State Police Post 51.  

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