MSP seeking murder suspect in Mt. Pleasant area


MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say they think a man accused of a Sunday murder is still in or around Mt. Pleasant, and they’re telling people to call 911 if they see him.

Isaiah “Zeke” Gary Gardenhire, 40, is described as standing 6-foot-1 and weighing about 180 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He has several tattoos, including a distinctive star on the right side of his neck and circle on the left side of his neck. He’s believed to be driving a stolen dark-colored 2014 Ford Fusion with Michigan license plate CTBMIKE.

Undated photos of Isaiah Gary Gardenhire. (Courtesy: The Michigan State Police)

Gardenhire is believed to be armed, though MSP Spl. Lt. Michelle Robinson could not say whether that was a knife or gun.

“Residents of the Mt. Pleasant area are encouraged to keep their homes, outbuildings and vehicles locked. If he is observed, call 911 immediately and do not approached,” Robinson said.

Authorities have been looking for Gardenhire since Sunday, saying he stabbed and killed a 13-year-old girl around 3:15 a.m. at a home on South Isabella Road in Union Township near Mt. Pleasant. He’s also accused of sexually assaulting an adult woman at the same house.

The house on South Isabella Road in Union Township where a teen girl was stabbed and killed. (June 7, 2021)

He’s expected to face charges of open murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a weapon, MSP said.

Court records show Gardenhire is currently facing charges for second-degree CSC with a victim under the age of 13 out of Mason County. It is alleged to have happened in 2015. Gardenhire was supposed to be back in court in that case Wednesday. That case is not believed to be connected to the Sunday crimes.

State corrections records show he previously served prison time for home invasion and a weapons charge, and that he pleaded no contest in 2000 to attempting to assault a jail employee or escape jail and attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.

News 8 spoke to MSP again Monday evening for an update. Robinson said they’re still actively searching for Gardenhire and the stolen vehicle. 

As investigators continue to take tips and track down leads in the case, they’re asking for the public to remain on alert. 

“The public safety is our largest concern. We want to make sure that individuals are still — not knowing where he is — we want them to still lock their doors keep an eye on their property,” Robinson said.

— News 8’s Jacqueline Francis contributed to this report.

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