Found Alive VA - AMB, 12, Abducted, Henry County, Bassett, 12 Feb 2021 *Arrest*

Discussion in 'Currently Awaiting Trial' started by Tillicum, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. Tillicum

    Tillicum Well-Known Member

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    Amber Alert issued for 12-year-old Henry County girl police say is in extreme danger

    Virginia State Police issued an Amber Alert after a child abduction authorities say happened Friday afternoon.

    12-year-old AMB is believed to be in extreme danger and was reported missing by her family at about 1:45 p.m. at 2373 Reed Creek Drive in Bassett.

    AMB is about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs around 107 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a gray James Madison University sweatshirt and dark-colored fleece pants.

    Authorities believe she was abducted by a 21-year-old man from Texas, Kaleb Christopher Merritt.

    Merritt is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.

    Police believe he’s possibly driving a 2000 light green Mercury Grand Marquis with Texas plate DMP-2294.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2021
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  2. Tillicum

    Tillicum Well-Known Member

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  3. ElementalLaura

    ElementalLaura Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They met via Instagram and Merritt has been stalking her. From the updated story linked above (BBM below):
    -
    The Henry County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Southwestern Virginia Internet Crimes against Children Task Force on Thursday about a complaint regarding social media messages exchanged between Broadaway and Merritt.

    <snip>

    Through further investigation, authorities found that Merritt and AMB met in December 2020 on Instagram where they communicated until Merrit traveled to Virginia in early February 2021 to meet her.

    Authorities discovered that Merritt set up a camp in a wooded area behind her home and met with her on several occasions before he used a messaging app to tell her to leave her home.

    -
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2021
  4. cuffem

    cuffem Well-Known Member

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    Thank You Tillicum, I was waiting for someone to post this.
     
  5. cuffem

    cuffem Well-Known Member

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    Wow! LE questioned him but could not hold him.
     
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  6. ElementalLaura

    ElementalLaura Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Quick synopsis of the video interviews of Henry County (VA) Sheriff Lane Perry at Amber Alert issued for 12-year-old Henry County girl police say is in extreme danger :

    • The Henry County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Southwestern Virginia Internet Crimes against Children Task Force on Thursday 02-11-21 re concerning messages exchanged by Merritt and Broadaway.
    • The Task Force had been contacted by a “social media platform” that had flagged inappropriate messages via “improved filtering systems.”
    • The Sheriff’s Office spoke with Merritt, who has been frequenting a local 24-hour fitness club to “clean up” (and possibly to use WiFi). They seized his phone at that time for analysis, but believe he has other devices he has been using.
    • The Sheriff’s Office also contacted AMB and her family. The content of the messages was “concerning” and they wanted to arrest Merritt, but did not have probable cause to do so. “We pushed every avenue there was.”
    • They do not know whether Merritt had been planning to abduct AMB prior to this police interaction or whether the interaction caused a change in plans.
    • The Sheriff’s Office do not believe he is armed, and they “may be headed back to Texas.” They would like to confirm travel direction.
    • Her family noticed she was missing at 1:00 pm Friday and investigators subsequently found his campsite.
    • They ask anyone who lives in the immediate area to check home video surveillance from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm on Friday, and for anyone driving the “220 corridor” to check dash cams.
    • Merritt had told investigators that he had been in the VA area for at least four days. Apparently a sheriff’s officer had encountered and interviewed Merritt in the parking lot of the fitness club prior to the Task Force contacting the Sheriff’s Office.
    • Gym members may have encountered Merritt and are encouraged to contact LE with any info.
    • Perry emphasized AMB's age and noted she is too young to provide consent.
    • They believe that Merritt currently has long hair, but that can obviously be changed easily.
    • They do not know the mindset of Merritt and AMB or how they will react to possibly seeing and hearing about the Amber Alert. Perry suggested that AMB could be left in a “very safe location” to be returned home to her family if there is a sense that things are getting “out of hand.” “This can end a multiple of ways.”
    • They do now have arrest warrants for abduction for Merritt.
    • They have been in touch with TX authorities. They are still working on whether Merritt has a criminal history and/or owns a firearm. “At this point” they have not heard anything about a weapon.
    • Multiple LE agencies and jurisdictions are pooling resources to get AMB home safely.
    • Images are from the second video (most recent) interview.
    <modsnip: Removed images and name changed to initials only>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2021
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  7. iQuill

    iQuill Well-Known Member

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    Oh.My.Gosh! She is 12 years old and he is 21! My heart goes out to her family, this is a terrifying situation. Sounds like LE is on it, hoping they find her safe ... and soon! MOO
     
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  8. Tealgrove

    Tealgrove Gannon is my hero!

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    Oh man! Another one.....

    I wonder if he took the camping gear with him. Pretty brazen to be camping close to her home.

    MOO
     
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  9. Tillicum

    Tillicum Well-Known Member

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    Anyone know what the weather conditions are between Virginia and Texas? I'm thinking the roads could be icy.
     
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  10. Simply Southern

    Simply Southern Well-Known Member

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  11. NCHydrangea

    NCHydrangea Well-Known Member

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    Not sure which route they may have taken, but Central NC is cold and rainy.
     
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  12. Simply Southern

    Simply Southern Well-Known Member

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    This area is having a major ice storm. Heavy ice, Treacherous road conditions, power outages. The back roads ..non interstate are in horrible condition, sleet , feeezing rain since about 7pm last night continuing today. I hope and pray they are not trying to hide or camp in the Blue Ridge mountains, only 40 minutes away.
     
  13. YaYa_521

    YaYa_521 Every Body's Name Matters

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    :( I've got this family in my prayers. And for the sicko, I've got something he deserves.:mad:
     
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  14. Simply Southern

    Simply Southern Well-Known Member

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    Reed Creek Drive is within 1/2 mile of US 220, North Roanoke, VA, connects to I81NS, or US64 east/west, south 60 miles Greensboro, NC connects to I85 and I40. North west US57 leads to RT 8 and the Blue Ridge mountains, so many places to hide in the winter, lots of empty cabins.
    I'm sure there are home video surveillance systems on Reed Creek, its nice area.

    She was reported missing at 1:45 pm, it was sleeting at that time, started about 10 am yesterday.

    This is like Jennifer Short all over again. Jennifer's house was within a mile of this abduction. I realize neither are related, its just the same sick feelings and emotions within the community.

    Moo....
     
  15. ClaireNC

    ClaireNC Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for starting this thread and all the details posted so far! This is very worrisome and the bad weather makes it worse.

    FBI Wanted Poster

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
  16. FlossyMay

    FlossyMay Well-Known Member

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    Wait, am I understanding this right? He went and picked her up after the police talked to him and took his devices? Wow, that is ballsy if he knew they were onto him. I'm scared for this little girl. There's no telling what he might do next.
     
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  17. PommyMommy

    PommyMommy #ShinelikeShanann

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  18. Simply Southern

    Simply Southern Well-Known Member

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    Sheriff Perry confirmed they maybe communicating from "old" inactive cell phones using free apps and connecting to free Wi-Fi.

    She apparent left her home and he picked her up.
     
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  19. Simply Southern

    Simply Southern Well-Known Member

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  20. PommyMommy

    PommyMommy #ShinelikeShanann

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    Updated 30 min ago: AMB: Amber Alert issued for 12-year-old Virginia girl believed to be taken by Texas man she met on Instagram, officials say - ABC11 Raleigh-Durham
    [...]

    On Feb. 11, a social media messaging app filed a complaint to the Southwestern Virginia Internet Crimes against Children task force regarding messages between a 12-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man.

    [...]

    Upon forensic analysis of Merritt's electronics, it was discovered that Merritt set up a camp in a wooded area behind AMB's home and met with her on several occasions. Merritt communicated with AMB via a messaging app and instructed her to leave her home. It is believed that Merritt picked her up and she has not been seen since.

    [...]

    This remains under investigation by the Henry County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police and the FBI. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff's Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 663-632-7463.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2021
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