ELKHART — An Elkhart man is accused of armed burglaries and sex crimes in two counties, committed under the guise of asking homeowners for directions.

Michael Middaugh Sr., 50, is charged with burglary with a deadly weapon, a Level 2 felony, and other crimes in court documents filed Friday. Police believe he’s responsible for home burglaries in Elkhart and Marshall counties in July and August, during which he bound and sexually assaulted the residents while threatening them with a knife.

Charges filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 3 also include criminal confinement with a deadly weapon, a Level 3 felony, and sexual battery with a deadly weapon, a Level 4 felony. The alleged incident occurred July 18 in Bristol, involving an elderly woman.

Middaugh also faces a habitual criminal offender enhancement based on past convictions for rape and child molesting.

A warrant issued in Marshall County in September charges him with three counts of rape by force or threat and a count of burglary resulting in serious injuries, all Level 1 felonies. It also charges him with robbery resulting in serious injury, a Level 2 felony, and criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, a Level 3 felony.

Middaugh is being held in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility. A tip led to his arrest in Goshen on Aug. 30, on a warrant charging him with failure to register as a sex offender, a Level 6 felony.

Home invasion

According to court documents:

The Bristol victim, a woman over 80, called police at 7:50 a.m. shortly after her attacker left. She said that a white male stranger had knocked on her door between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and asked her for directions somewhere.

She said he asked her to step outside and point the way, and when she did, he forced her back inside her residence. He demanded all of her cash while threatening her with a knife.

He used a zip-tie to bind her hands and had her retrieve cash from places around the house. When she went into her bedroom to get more money, the man followed her in.

She said he lowered her dress and panties and bent her forward over her bed, forcing her to lie face down. He threatened to rape her if she didn’t give him more cash.

She was able to convince the attacker that she didn’t have any more cash. He used the knife to cut the zip-tie off her wrists and left the residence.

Police collected the zip-tie and had a DNA swab from it analyzed at the Indiana State Police lab. The results were a match to Middaugh, according to police.

The woman described her attacker as a man about 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a medium build and some facial hair. She said he had dark, unkempt hair that was grown to his ears.

Voice array

Toward the end of August, a detective with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office learned of a rape case being investigated by Marshall County officers. The details of that alleged Aug. 28 incident were nearly identical, except the suspect acted on his threat to rape the victim.

According to news reports of that attack in Bremen, Middaugh stopped at the home of an Amish woman who was there with only a 2-year-old child and asked her to write down directions to Wakarusa. When she handed him the directions, he allegedly grabbed her, pressed her head against the side of the house and held a knife to her throat.

He had her give him wallets in the house, and when she said she didn’t have any more money, he secured her hands behind her back with zip-ties and raped her.

The victim described him as a white man in his 40s, with broad shoulders, no facial hair, a bald head and crossed eyes. Based on the description, a picture of Middaugh was included in a photo array shown to the victim and she identified him as her attacker.

The Bristol victim was also shown an array containing Middaugh but identified a different man.

She later identified Middaugh by his voice when she listened to audio samples from six different men. She said she believed that was the voice of the man who had burglarized, confined and threatened her.

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