Police rescue four people held hostage on boat on St. Joseph River

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Michael B Howell (Photo supplied/Elkhart County Jail)

A South Bend man has been arrested after four people being held hostage on board a pontoon boat on the St. Joseph River were rescued by officers.

Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department officers were dispatched to a disturbance on the St. Joseph River east of the Elkhart and St. Joseph County line around 12:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, after receiving a 911 call from a woman and three other passengers who were being kept on the boat by an acquaintance, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

Officers used a boat to get to the occupants on the river near the 30000 block of County Road 16, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Michael B. Howell, 35, refused to bring the occupants of the boat to shore and had choked one other person, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department investigation.

After being confronted by officers, Howell spit on officers and resisted arrest, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Howell was arrested on preliminary charges of criminal confinement, strangulation, battery, battery on an officer by bodily waste, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and resisting arrest.

He is being held in the Elkhart County Jail.

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