Illinois Missing baby found on friend’s porch, mother still missing

Illinois missing baby that went missing with his mother has been found

UPDATE:  Kayla Stratton has been found safe, the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office said.  Her ex-boyfriend, Clarence Merritt of Chicago was arrested and Kayla was found.  Merritte was arrested on warrants for unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, driving while license revoked and domestic battery. He is being held without bond.


Kayla Stratton and her son, 11-month-old Paul Merritte went missing on Sunday, after a witness saw a woman and a baby being put into a car.  Then Sunday evening the baby was found in his car seat on a friend’s porch.

Authorities are trying to piece together what happened on Friday that led to Kayla and Paul’s disappearance from their home in Streator, Illinois.  Authorities received a phone call about a car ramming into a woman’s car from behind and running her off the road and into a utility pole on East 1st Street, reports KWQC.  The driver then got out and forced the woman by her hair into his car along with the child.  The car the suspect was driving was found a few blocks away from the incident.

Kayla’s hair was dyed black before she went missing

Authorities said in a missing persons alert that the child was “consensually taken” by his father, 33-year-old Clarence Merritte, who is a suspect in the case, reports NBC Chicago.

The sheriff’s office also said DCFS was called and assisted with the legal transfer of custody of the child to his grandparents, after he was found.  The search for Kayla continues.

“The recovery of Kayla is our primary goal and the apprehension of Merritte goes hand-in-hand with that,” said La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.