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Man accused of kidnapping boy playing outside home, holding him in shed for hours

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John E. Yonan

John E. Yonan

Editor's note: Lake County prosecutors dropped charges against John E. Yonan in August 2021 after further investigation led them to conclude they could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, court records state.

CROWN POINT — A Lowell-area man was being held Friday on charges alleging he "snatched up" an 8-year-old boy playing outside and held the boy in a shed for three hours.

John E. Yonan, 50, is accused of threatening to kill the boy if the boy moved while inside the shed Tuesday near Yonan's residence at the Apple Valley trailer park in West Creek Township.

The boy told Lake County sheriff's police he got out of the shed and ran home after Yonan went inside, Lake Criminal Court records show.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

Yonan made an initial appearance Friday before a magistrate, who entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to two felony counts of kidnapping, two counts of criminal confinement and one count of intimidation.

Yonan's bond was set at $80,000 surety or $8,000 cash. A bond reduction hearing was set for July 14 at the request of Yonan's attorney, Ben Murphy.

According to court records, the boy was playing near a dig pile outside his own residence at the trailer park about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when Yonan "snatched him up." 

The boy told a detective Yonan picked him up underneath his armpits and placed him in the rear passenger side of Yonan's truck.

The boy told police he knew Yonan as "Crazy John," and had heard rumors in the neighborhood about Yonan having guns and kidnapping other people, court records state.

Yonan is accused of driving the boy to his residence, pulling the boy by the arm and placing him in a shed behind the residence, according to documents.

The boy's father realized the boy was missing and called the boy's mother, who was at work. The family began searching for the boy about 8:30 p.m., after he didn't return home, court records state.

The mother told police she began going to the boy's friends' homes to look for him, and received a call about 9:30 p.m. that her son had returned home.

The boy was "very distraught, crying and hyperventilating," according to court records. After some time to calm down, he wrote a couple of sentences for his parents, stating "Crazy John" kidnapped him and he eventually was able to run away.

Sheriff's police took Yonan into custody after speaking with the family, records show.


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