VALPARAISO — A Michigan man has been charged with false informing after police say they found him in the trunk of his wrecked car at Jackson Elementary School over the holiday weekend and tried to claim he was kidnapped, according to a Porter County Sheriff’s police report.

Nicholaus Mackenna Martin, 22, of Sears, Michigan, was reportedly snoring in a deep sleep when a sheriff’s deputy discovered him in the trunk of his silver 2006 Chevrolet Malibu at about 9:10 a.m. Saturday near North County Road 400 East and U.S. 6.

He was booked at the Porter County jail over the weekend on the misdemeanor charge of false informing.

Prior to finding Martin, the deputy responded to the area at about 8:30 a.m. for a report of an abandoned rusted and dented vehicle with Michigan plates, a cracked windshield and a missing rear driver side tire. The driver side door was ajar and keys still in the ignition.

The officer then contacted Michigan police to have a well-being check conducted on the registered owner of the vehicle to learn why the vehicle was damaged and abandoned in Porter County.

While conducting an impound inventory of the car, the deputy opened the trunk to find Martin asleep and snoring, the report states.

The 22-year-old allegedly claimed he was hit over the head and kidnapped from a rest stop in southern Michigan, but was unable to provide specific details about the suspect’s description or where, exactly, he was first attacked, according to the police report.

He said he was kidnapped, but was allowed to leave the trunk and sit in the passenger seat while the alleged assailant drove. He said once they arrived at the school in Valparaiso, the suspect popped open the trunk and told him to get inside. Martin said he closed the trunk himself, the report states.

The deputy then asked Martin why the suspect didn’t take his wallet or money and why he personally didn’t flee on foot or call for help on his phone. Martin said he “was too scared,” because the man had a gun and his phone was dead.

The deputy interrupted Martin several times to point out inconsistencies while informing him he could be charged with false informing if police determine he is lying. 

Martin then admitted he left Michigan on Friday night for Colorado to see family for the holidays, but stopped to have some alcoholic drinks. He then purchased three "tall boys" at an unknown gas station to drink while driving, the report stated.

At some point, he blacked out, he told police, and didn't remember how he crashed and wound up in Porter County.

While being transported to the jail, a handcuffed Martin “kept apologizing” and thanking the officer “for opportunities to tell the truth.”

A person who lives nearby told the deputy she heard a “strange noise” that sounded like a crash due to a tire falling off of a car at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday and noticed a vehicle across the street upon waking the next morning.

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.