(LAGRANGE) – A suspect has been arrested for allegedly fondling a child.
Indiana State Police say they have arrested 49 year old Merlin R. Schlabach of Middlebury on a Level 4 felony of child molesting. The incident allegedly happened at a family gathering in LaGrange County in July 2016. Schlabach is accused of inappropriately touching a then three year old girl.
State Police say they were contacted by the LaGrange County Office of the Department of Child Services in early 2020 about the alleged incident. ISP detectives conducted their preliminary investigation and presented their findings to the LaGrange County Prosecutor's Office in July 2020. A follow up investigation was requested and completed in September of 2020.
An arrest warrant was issued for Schlabach in September 2020, but he could not be located until December 29, 2021 when Elkhart County authorities found him and arrested him. He was taken to the LaGrange County Jail but was able to bond out.
Court officials did not say when Schlabach would have a preliminary hearing. He has been served with a no contact order.
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