Two weeks after Hillsdale City Police spotted a fugitive attempting to break into a house, Michigan State Police finally arrested the man on Aug. 27 in Jefferson Township.
First Lt. Kevin Rod has been with Michigan State Police for 21 years and said the state used its aviation and K-9 units to track Hillsdale resident, 22-year-old Dylan Lee Jones, through a bean field.
“Aviation was able to pick him up using some of their internal imaging and helped provide direction for the K-9 unit and responding units to take him into custody,” Rod said.
Jones was on parole for three offenses: operating and maintaining a methamphetamine lab, larceny of a firearm, and breaking into and damaging a vehicle.
Prior to his arrest in Jefferson Township, between the cities of Hillsdale and Pittsford, Jones broke his parole and gained absconder status on Aug. 1. Shortly after, on Aug. 13, Jones came to the City of Hillsdale in search of money, according to Hillsdale City Police Officer Todd Holtz.
Holtz responded to an initial call around 12 p.m. when Jones was spotted in Hillsdale.
Holtz said Jones asked his younger brother to steal money from their mother and meet at Family Video for an exchange. Jones’ brother called 911 and reported Jones’ plan, so Holtz went to Family Video and waited for Jones’ car.
While Holtz was waiting, Jones attempted to break into his mother’s house, so Holtz left Family Video and went to the house.
“When I arrived at the house, Dylan was trying to force entry into the door,” Holtz said. “And knowing that his little brother was alone in the house, I yelled at Dylan to stop what he was doing. We ended up chasing him for two and a half weeks subsequent to that.”
The chase began in a heavily wooded area within the city limits of Hillsdale. Hillsdale Police Chief Scott Hephner said his department, along with the Hillsdale County Sheriff Department and MSP, trapped Jones in a quarter-mile square.
Although MSP provided the city with a K-9 unit, the two hours of heavy rain prior to the search created conditions that were not ideal for the dog to pick up a scent.
Around 7 p.m., residents on South Wolcott Street observed Jones climbing down from a tree. The Hillsdale City Police and MSP K-9 unit made their way to the area, but Jones fled to a swamp, and the dog was unable to track him any farther.
After two unsuccessful searches in one day, Hephner said he and the other agencies felt frustrated.
“Desperation kicks in and it becomes a mission,” he said.
Hephner also said that MSP was relentless in pursuing Jones, adding that Hillsdale City Police has a great working relationship with MSP and the other local agencies.
“If we need any resources, like the K-9 unit or explosive department, they’re there,” Hephner said.
Since his arrest on Aug. 27, Jones is being detained at the Hillsdale County Jail pending a court appearance. He will appear in Hillsdale County’s District Court for his arraignment, followed by a criminal hearing for charges committed in the county.
Jones’ girlfriend, Cheyenne Leigh Huntington, was also arrested for allegedly harboring a fugitive, making false police reports, and obstructing justice.
After weeks of tracking, Rod said he was most impressed with the persistence of all officers involved in the search and arrest of Jones.
“This was a perfect example of all law enforcement agencies working together,” Rod said. “It took all of us with our resources combined to bring this to a successful completion.”