Story Summary

CMU Abduction

Eric Lee Ramsey was killed by police after he abducted and sexually assaulted a Central Michigan University student from West Michigan.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 9 updates

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -The two children who helped a Central Michigan University student by letting her into their home have received a life-saving award at the Isabella County Board of Commissioners meeting.

James and Acelin Persyn helped save the woman who was kidnapped from the Student Activity Center on CMU’s campus on Jan. 16.

The woman managed to escape her assailant, Eric Ramsey, and ran to the Persyn home on Mission Street.

The two children were home alone when the woman started banging on the door. All though the kids were told to never answer the door for strangers, their instincts told them they should.

After letting the woman inside the home, they all hid in a bathroom together and called 911. All the while, Ramsey was just outside with a gas can, attempting to set the house on fire.

Ramsey eventually left. He was later killed by police after he rammed a squad car.

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. – When police were pursuing Eric Ramsey through three counties he was considered armed and dangerous.  Now, the sheriff in Isabella County says the gun was not what they thought.

“It was a low powered, it was not a .45 caliber,” explains Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski.  “It appears it was either a BB gun or pellet gun.”

But it looked real.  And it was enough to scare a Central Michigan University student from Kent County into complying to Ramsey’s demands Wednesday Night.  After being forced into her car, the female student and Ramsey allegedly drove to a home on Crawford Road, owned by Ramsey’s family.  That’s were police said the woman was bound with tape and sexually assaulted.

“One of questions the victim asked him, was why me?”  Mioduszewski said Ramsey told the victim he was looking at two other females in the parking lot of the Student Activities Center, but didn’t’ feel comfortable because there were people around.

Later, after Ramsey grabbed gas cans and the two were driving again, the victim told police Ramsey threatened to kill her, so she jumped out of the moving car, fracturing her arm.  She ran up to a home on Mission Road, where two kids, home alone, decided to let a stranger into their home.

“I came out in the living room and heard a girl screaming ‘help, let me in, please, please,’” said 14-year-old James.

The sheriff said the quick-thinking kids probably saved the woman’s life.

“Had not that 14-year-old boy opened up that door and let her in, I’m afraid that (the victim) would not be alive today,” said Mioduszewski.

After spraying that house with gas and lighting it on fire, detectives said Ramsey took off in the victim’s car, ramming two State Police troopers – one in Gaylord, then a second in Crawford County.  Then, Ramsey went after a Crawford County cruiser, hitting it head-on.  The deputy inside was hurt, but managed to wiggle out of the vehicle.   That’s when investigators say Ramsey was preparing to go after the deputy again.

“…he didn’t want to get run over,” Mioduszewski stated.

So the deputy opened fire, killing Ramsey.

Now, investigators are asking the same question the victim did: Why?

“Was there something that happened in his life recently that sent him over the edge?”

The sheriff says detectives are planning to talk to friends and family of Ramsey to figure out what happened.

It’s a complicated investigation, with crime scenes in three counties and on CMU’s campus, each with very different evidence.  And even though a deputy shot and killed the 30-year-old, Sheriff Mioduszewski says they will still do a full criminal investigation.

“We owe it to the taxpayers, Mr. Ramsey’s family, as well as to the victim,” he says.  “We know (Ramsey) was the one that rammed police cars, there’s no doubt about that … but we have the burden of proving … he’s the one that kidnapped the victim and sexually assaulted her.”

Although is also accused of arson and misusing a weapon – yet, cannot be charged – The Sheriff says he still wants answers and the families of the victim and the suspect deserve answers too.

“My condolences go out to the family, because even though their son (Ramsey) did a lot of things we know he shouldn’t have done, he’s still a son, he’s still a family member.”

An autopsy on Ramsey was completed Friday, those results and toxicology results are not expected for at least three weeks.

GAYLORD, Mich. – Michigan State Police Troopers said they went on a dangerous chase that lasted for hours with the man who kidnapped and assaulted the CMU student.

At about 2:50 a.m., troopers from the MSP Gaylord Post were investigating a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot within the city limits of Gaylord, Otsego County. That’s when they said Eric Ramsey drove up and rammed their patrol car, three times. The troopers said Ramsey caused extensive damage to the patrol car, making it inoperable.

The troopers then followed the snow tracks from Ramsey’s vehicle to an elk ranch off of Grandview Bldv. The tracks led them through an 8 to 10 feet high enclosure fence. The troopers followed the tracks on foot for nearly a mile before they found the Ramsey’s vehicle stuck in the snow. The troopers climbed over the fence and continued their pursuit.

They followed the suspect’s footprints, which led them to a vehicle’s tracks where a possible truck with dual wheels was once parked. Troopers put out a warning that Ramsey had possibly stolen this tuck and was on the run.

At about 4:17 a.m. troopers were southbound on Old 27, trying to locate the suspect’s vehicle. While parked, a large truck came driving up behind them with no headlights. Ramsey was behind the wheel of a one-ton Arrow flatbed truck. He struck the troopers’ vehicle again.

A Crawford County deputy was following the truck and witnessed Ramsey smashing into the patrol vehicle. The deputy slowed his vehicle to ensure the troopers were OK and was waived on to continue his pursuit. The suspect then turned his vehicle around and headed straight for the deputy. Knowing Ramsey had just smashed into the trooper’s vehicle, the deputy left the roadway to avoid a head-on collision. The suspect was not finished. He came after the deputy once more, this time, he caught up to him and rammed into his vehicle.

Both vehicles came to a stop. Their front ends were wedged together. Then things got worse for the deputy. He was at first pinned inside his vehicle. Somehow, he managed to make his way out, where he then shot and killed 30-year-old Eric Ramsey.

All officers involved were treated and released with only minor injuries.

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. –The parking lot was packed at the Student Activities Center on Central Michigan University’s campus Wednesday night.

That’s just one reason why Isabella County’s Sheriff cannot believe what happened around 9:30 that night.

Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said a CMU student – a woman from Kent County – was forced into her vehicle at gun point by 30 year-old Eric Ramsey.  The pair drove to a nearby home on Crawford Road where members of Ramsey’s family live.  There, investigators say the woman was bound with tape and sexually assaulted.

Then, Ramsey reportedly grabbed two gas cans from a nearby barn, forced the woman back into the vehicle and took off.

“(Ramsey) ended up telling the female that he was going to kill her,” explained Sheriff Mioduszewski.  “At that point, because (the victim) did fear for her life, she ended up jumping out of the moving vehicle.”

With her arm badly hurt, the woman ran up to a home on Mission Road.

“I came out in the living room and heard a girl screaming ‘help, let me in, please, please,’” said 14 year-old James, who was at home with his 11-year-old sister Acelin, and two-year-old brother.

The kids know they’re not supposed to open the door for strangers, but “…you could tell by her voice something was wrong, that’s why we let her in,” explains Acelin.  “She had tape all over her and wires wrapped around her, it was just sad to see her like that.”

James says he locked the door, grabbed his siblings and dog, and hid inside the bathroom with the woman.  That’s when the CMU students called 911, telling dispatchers she was kidnapped.

Meanwhile outside, Ramsey was trying to get in.

“We could hear him pounding on the door, saying ‘let me in.’” Acelin adds the noise only lasted for a short time.

James called his Dad, who was just up the road, not knowing that, according to investigators, Ramsey was spraying the home with gasoline and lit it on fire.

“I could tell by my son’s voice, there was trouble,” said James Persyn, the children’s father. When he got home, Persyn says he was able to stomp out the flames, but there was no sign of Ramsey.

The Sheriff says Ramsey took off in the victim’s car; making it to Otsego County where he rammed a Michigan State Trooper on the road.  During the chase, Ramsey ditched the car and stole a city-owned sanitary pickup truck, before heading South and ramming a second cruiser head-on in Crawford County, injuring an officer.

A short time later, a deputy from Crawford County approached the vehicle and opened fire on Ramsey.  The 30-year-old suspect was killed.

Chief Bill Yeagley of CMU’s campus police called the victim a hero.  Both he and Sheriff Mioduszewski agree the woman probably would not have lived if it wasn’t for the two brave children that let her into their home, and the fact she remained calm and made smart decisions during the horrifying ordeal.

Now, Persyn and the children’s mother, Tiffany Ramon, are left to comfort their quick-thinking kids who helped save the woman.

“We’re trying to let them know the chances of something like this happening again are very slim,” said Persyn.  “It’s been a long night (with) no sleep, but everything you ask of your children to do, was done.”

In a strange turn of events, Ramon said she went to high school with Ramsey and has been in contact with him, on and off, for the past few years.

“I’m very shocked that it was Eric (Ramsey), I would never imagine him doing something like this or picture him acting this way.”

When FOX 17 went to the home on Crawford Road, where the alleged rape happened, family members of Ramsey said, “he’s not that bad (of a guy), you don’t even know,” but would not comment further.

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. –The man accused of kidnap and rape in Mt. Pleasant had a history of violence against law enforcement officers and women since 2005.

Eric Ramsey was released on parole in July after spending five years in prison for felony assault.

Now, six months later, he’s accused of kidnapping and raping a female student from Central Michigan University.

Police say Ramsey forced the woman into her own car at gun point as she was leaving the Student Activities Center.

Ramsey was shot by police after the woman got away and ran to a nearby home to call for help.

Police say tried to set the house on fire after she ran inside.

The Department of Corrections says when Eric Ramsey was paroled, they saw nothing recent in his behavior that would indicate he was capable of this crime.

His friends and family agree.

Those who went to High school with him like Tiffany Ramon say it wasn’t in his character. “I would never imagine him doing this,” said Ramon.

Ironically, Ramon said it was her home that victim ran to for help and her kids let her in and locked the door.

Ramsey’s record does indicate he seemed to have a hidden anger that would surface at times and result in violence.

In the most recent case, he was accused of assaulting an officer and destroying his uniform in the process.

There’s also a history of violence against women.

In 2005 he was accused of threatening to kill a woman while calling her derogatory names. Then he allegedly went after a man with a tire iron, striking him on the hand and threatening to kill him as well.

In 2006 he was accused of placing his arm around the same woman’s neck and his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t breathe. Then, he forced her into a bathroom and started filling the tub, telling her he was going to drown her.

He then allegedly grabbed a razor and said, “Either you cut me or I’m going to cut you….“How does it feel to know you’re going to die tonight.”

Friends and neighbors indicated on Facebook that knew nothing of this dark side of him.

Ramsey wrote a cryptic last post on his Facebook page that read, “Well folkes im about to get shot. Peace.”


CMU Abduction: Police Conference

The Isabella County Police Department holds a press conference after the abduction and assault of a CMU student.

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. – A 14-year-old boy answered the door when he noticed the girl knocking was tied up.

The boy was at home with his 11-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother.

The kids told FOX 17 News that they know they shouldn’t open the door unless they know who the person is, but decided let the girl in when they noticed she was in trouble.

The kids then called the police and all four people inside the home hid in the bathroom.

While inside the bathroom, they could hear the suspect Eric Ramsey, banging on the door, screaming to let him inside.

The children called their dad and told him someone was trying to get inside the home.

After a couple minutes the banging stopped.

The children’s dad arrived home and noticed the house had been set on fire.

Ramsey sprayed the house with gas and lit it on fire.

The father of the home was able to stomp the fire out.

The mother of the home said she knew Ramsey.

The two went to high school together. She said that she was shocked he would do something so horrific.

According to court documents, this is the not the first time Ramsey has been charged with assault. It is reported that Ramsey previously drug a woman inside of a bathroom, while telling her he was going to drown her.


Kent County Woman Kidnapped At CMU But Escapes; Abductor Killed

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. — A woman was kidnapped at gunpoint Wednesday night outside the Central Michigan University Student Activity Center, but she escaped and the abductor was shot to death when he rammed police cars, according to the Isabella County Sheriff.

The suspect Eric Lee Ramsey, 30, of  Mt. Pleasant. FOX 17 has learned the the woman is a student from Kent County. She is now with family.

The woman, whose identity was not released, was taken around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and forced into her own SUV. The pair left the campus and went to a home where the abductor bound and sexually assaulted the woman. He then took her to a barn where he got some gas cans.

After getting in the victim’s car and driving, the abductor told the woman he was going to kill her. At that point, she jumped from the moving car and ran to a house for help. The people in the house let her in and locked the door, and the woman called 911. The suspect followed her, used gasoline to set the house on fire, and fled. One of the homeowners was able to put out the fire.

A description of the vehicle the suspect was driving was sent out to law enforcement agencies, and he was spotted in Otsego and Crawford counties, and several hours later the suspect rammed a state trooper’s unit. He then stole a small sanitation truck and hit a Crawford County deputy’s cruiser head on. The deputy got out of his unit, ran up to the suspect and fired. The suspect was killed.

One trooper was hurt in the series of incidents. There was no word on how badly.

In a news conference, police called the victim a hero. She may have suffered a broken arm when she jumped from the car.


CMU Abduction Suspect’s Background

MT. PLEASANT, Mich.– Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski has released the name of the suspect in the CMU abduction case.

According to a search through the Michigan Department of Corrections, Eric Ramsey has a long criminal past. His previous charges include malicious destruction of fire or police property, assualting an officer and resisting arrest, assault with intention to do great bodily harm all in 2007 in Isabella County. He also has charges for assualt with a dangerous weapon in 2005 in Gratiot County.

He was currently out on parole.