Isaiah Gardenhire is accused of stabbing a 13-year-old girl to death and committing other crimes while out on bond. He is in the Isabella County jail on a litany of felony charges and was out on bond in a case in Mason County.
“The events following Mr. Gardenhire’s release from Mason County are incredibly tragic,” said Mason County Prosecutor Lauren Kreinbrink.
Gardenhire was bonded out of the Mason County jail in May for $750, 10 percent of the $7,500 bond that was set after Gardenhire was arraigned for a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. The alleged crime against a 12-year-old girl happened in Mason County in 2015.
Gardenhire is now facing felony charges in Isabella County. Investigators accuse him of killing a 13-year-old girl and sexually assaulting two women this week. Prosecutor Kreinbrink isn’t sure a steeper bond would’ve made a difference in what happened.
“Whether a higher bond could’ve prevented those tragedies from happening, I think it’s difficult to say,” Kreinbrink said.
Kreinbrink said it is the magistrate, not the prosecutor’s office, that sets bond at arraignments. She went on to say the prosecutor doesn’t play a large role in making the case to set the bond.
“I think an important change we could make is having prosecutors more proactive at that arraignment proceeding,” Kreinbrink said.
Kreinbrink is aware that a lot of people think Gardenhire slipped through the cracks. She would like to see more done to prevent this from happening again.
“This is a difficult moment,” Kreinbrink said. “This is a difficult set of facts to work with, but in my mind, I think it really could be a flashpoint or a trigger for some positive change.”