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Charges filed in Henry County abduction case following AMBER Alert

Merritt is awaiting extradition in Henderson, North Carolina
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:52 PM EST
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HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Charges have been filed against Kaleb Merritt, 21, after this past weekend’s alleged kidnapping case in Henry County.

He is charged with rape, computer solicitation of a child younger than 15 years old, and abduction, connected to the kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl in Henry County February 12.

Court documents reveal the two initially met over Instagram before messaging each other on an app called Discord.

The app sent a report about the messages to authorities saying the reported user, whom police identify as Merritt, was a part of a group on the app that extorts girls.

Warrants show Merritt and the victim exchanged messages and child pornography through the app and the documents explicitly detail sexual acts between the two.

February 11, police say, Merritt told the victim to leave her home and hide her phone after authorities contacted him.

The next day, she was reported missing after a family member found a suicide note.

She and Merritt were found in Henderson, North Carolina the next day.

According to the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children, the number of tips they received have increased by 71 percent in their region this year as kids are learning virtually.

Merritt is awaiting extradition in Henderson, North Carolina.

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