Charges filed after man grabbed child near Grand Haven

Ottawa County

Photos of James OConnell. Anyone who was approached by him is asked to contact authorities. (Courtesy Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office)

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of grabbing an 8-year-old girl at a Walmart near Grand Haven faces multiple charges including kidnapping and assault.

James OConnell, a 43-year-old man from Grand Haven, has been charged with kidnapping, assault with intent to commit 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct and habitual offender, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said in a Tuesday release.

A photo of James OConnell and what he was wearing when he approached a young girl at a Walmart. (Courtesy Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office)

On Sunday, an 8-year-old girl was approached by a man at the Walmart located on US-31 near the intersection of Comstock Street in Grand Haven Township. Authorities say he grabbed her arm. They say he left the store after the girl’s mother pulled her away from him.

The 8-year-old was not injured, officials say.

When patrolling the area, a sheriff’s deputy found OConnell, who matched the description of the suspect, and took him into custody.

He is being held with a $500,000 bond.

Other young girls may have also been approached, the sheriff’s office said. It says he is believed to have been at other retail stores in the area of US-31 between Robbins Road and Hayes Street in the Grand Haven area between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Anyone who was approached or contacted by OConnell should contact the sheriff’s office at 616.738.4000. Anyone with information is also asked to call the sheriff’s office at 616.738.4000 or Silent Observer at 1.877.88.SILENT.

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