PAW PAW — A Lawton man faces multiple charges after police believe he robbed and sexually assaulted a young woman Tuesday afternoon after she had agreed to give him a ride from Lawton to the Paw Paw area.
According to a Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department news release, the woman was at the Main Street Laundromat in Lawton between 4-6:30 p.m., then agreed to give the man, Jimmy Lee Mitchell, 55, a ride home. However, police say during the ride Mitchell held her at knife-point 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 and exited the vehicle on foot. The incident was immediately reported to Van Buren County Central Dispatch,” the release stated.
A Michigan State Police K9 officer and handler were brought to the scene, and Mitchell, matching the description provided to them, was located and arrested.
After being questioned, Mitchell was lodged at the Van Buren County Jail and then charged by the prosecutor’s office. He faces two counts of criminal sexual conduct 1st degree, one count of kidnapping, one count armed robbery, and one count of being a habitual offender. Bond was set at $1 million.
Police said the victim received medical treatment from Bronson Lakeview Hospital and was released. The incident remains under investigation. Van Buren deputies were assisted by police from Paw Paw, Lawton and Mattawan, along with the Michigan State Police.