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Woman taken to northern Michigan from Ypsilanti against her will escapes human traffickers, MSP says

James Jarrell, Jeffrey Kobel charged in case

James Manford Jarrell (left) and Jeffrey Allen Kobel (right)
James Manford Jarrell (left) and Jeffrey Allen Kobel (right) (WDIV)

HOUGHTON LAKE, Mich. – State police said a woman taken to northern Michigan from Ypsilanti against her will escaped from two human traffickers who forced her to clean and perform acts of prostitution.

Troopers in Houghton Lake were called around 3 a.m. Friday in connection with a human trafficking investigation, officials said.

A woman had been taken into custody for stealing a vehicle, police said. She told troopers she escaped from a home on Roberta Drive in Crawford Country, where two men had been forcing her to clean the residence and perform acts of prostitution, according to authorities.

She told police that James Manford Jarrell and Jeffrey Allen Kobel, both 50-year-old Roscommon residents, were the men who held her against her will, officials said.

The woman had been brought north from Ypsilanti a few days prior, police said.

Michigan State Police officials said there was also drug dealing at the home.

A search warrant was executed at the home, and Jarrell and Kobel were taken into custody, according to officials.

Jarrell is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of unlawful imprisonment and habitual offender -- fourth offense. The criminal sexual conduct charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison, and the unlawful imprisonment charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Kobel is charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of habitual offender -- third offense.

Both men are being held in the Crawford County Jail. Jarrell is being held in lieu of $100,00 bail. Kobel is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

They are scheduled to return to court Jan. 28.

James Manford Jarrell
James Manford Jarrell (WDIV)
Jeffrey Allen Kobel
Jeffrey Allen Kobel (WDIV)

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