[Watch previous FOX 8 News coverage from May 2023, when Michael Stennett was freed from jail after his stalking charges were dismissed.]
Michael Stennett, 66, of Shaker Heights, was in court Thursday morning for a pre-trial on a rape charge, stemming from an alleged offense on Aug. 10, 2021. Prosecutors on Thursday dismissed the charge without prejudice, which means authorities reserve the right to file the charge again later.
Prosecutors in a statement to FOX 8 News on Thursday cited “inconsistent evidence” relating to the disappearance of Cleveland EMT Lachelle Jordan between May 6, 2023, and May 11, 2023.
Jordan vanished on May 6, launching a days-long search by police officers and family members. Two days before her disappearance, she was set to appear in court as a key witness on Stennett’s rape charge.
Jordan re-appeared the night of May 11 at a convenience store on Cleveland’s east side, claiming she had escaped from kidnappers. At the time, Stennett was charged with stalking the 30-year-old woman and mother of two.
“As with all cases, evidence is constantly re-evaluated throughout the pendency of the case,” a spokesperson wrote. “Based on that inconsistent evidence and our current evidence regarding the August 10  incident, the state believes we can no longer prove the case against Michael Stennett beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The state brings forth cases with the intention of seeking truth and justice on behalf of the victim,” the statement continues. “Survivors of sexual assault deserve to be heard and have their case be given a full and diligent investigation. The circumstances surrounding one case should not deter survivors from coming forward.”
Stennett was released from the county jail days after Jordan re-appeared, after his stalking charges were dropped. Prosecutors at the time also cited “inconsistent evidence.”
The investigation into Jordan’s disappearance is ongoing, the prosecutor’s spokesperson said.