Michigan man charged after missing Pennsylvania teen found safe in Marine City

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 20:43:02-04

A Chesterfield Township man faces multiple felony charges in connection with the disappearance of a 15-year-old Pennsylvania girl who was missing for 18 days.

On Tuesday, June 26, the girl was seen voluntarily getting into someone’s car outside of a McDonald's in her Pennsylvania hometown and disappeared. 

She was finally found on Friday inside a house in Marine City, Michigan, with 55-year-old Bruce Kirkpatrick, who is now being charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct. 

Those who live near that Marine City home are in shock. 

"I’ve always thought it was strange, I’ve always questioned it," said Amanda Turczyn who lives across the street on Pearl.

It's a quiet residential street in Marine City where the neighbors all know each other, but one house was a mystery. Many thought the home was vacant. 

Turczyn said she had seen a man at the house, but it was very inconsistent.

"He never has his curtains open or lights on in the house," Turczyn said. "Every once in awhile the upstairs light was on."

Last Friday, the house was surrounded.

The FBI, with the assistance of Marine City Police, found a missing 15-year-old girl who had disappeared 18 days prior from her Pennsylvania hometown. Kirkpatrick was found with her and arrested. 

"He was cooperative and gave a full statement on what transpired in the couple weeks he’s had her," said Chief Jim Heaslip with the Marine City Police Department. "Cooperative through the whole thing, gave us consent to search the house."

The details won't be made public until they are revealed in court. 

Kirkpatrick was charged Saturday with four felony charges of criminal sexual conduct. The 15-year-old girl's mother told Pennsylvania news outlets that her daughter was uninjured and that the FBI had been investigating an acquaintance her daughter had made through social media during the 18 days of her disappearance. It's unclear how Kirkpatrick ended up with the 15-year-old girl.

"The majority of the town is quiet residential neighborhoods and it was a shock to us and a shock to most people in our department," Chief Heaslip said. 

Kirkpatrick told authorities his Marine City house is a rental property, but neighbors say they never saw a “for rent” sign.

"He would sometimes show up and have four grocery bags, but he would come inside. He never was out here – ever. His car would be here for five days and then it would be here for like a week," Turczyn said. 

Kirkpatrick has another house in Chesterfield Township, which is his main residence.

Neighbors there say he moved in about 20 years ago with his wife and two kids. Neighbors say the family is very private, and most can't remember the last time they've seen Kirkpatrick. 

"I wouldn’t even know him if he walked down the street," said one neighbor.  

Many say they believe he works in the medical industry because he's been seen wearing scrubs. 

State records show Kirkpatrick started a nonprofit in September of 2013 called Holy Trinity International Mobile Ministries, Inc. The articles of incorporations state the nonprofit's purpose was to "teach and preach the gospel through speaking engagements at religious venues" among many other things including providing "mental, physical, emotional and spiritual support to communities both domestic and foreign."

State records show the nonprofit was dissolved in 2016. 

7 Action News has not been able to locate a church or ministry familiar with his work. 

Kirkpatrick is behind bars until his next court appearance. The 15-year-old girl is safe with her mother, according to police. 

There are still many questions about this case. There are also some fears for those living on Pearl Street in Marine City, and some guilt.

"I just feel horrible that some young girl was trapped in there," Turczyn said. "That’s awful ... and I wish we would have noticed something." 

Kirkpatrick is scheduled for a probable cause conference on July 25 and a preliminary exam on Aug. 1.