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Missing baby and mom may have been kidnapped: Police

by Ellen Killoran

The baby’s father dragged her out of her car by her hair on Friday night

An Illinois woman and her baby son are missing under suspicious circumstances.

Police told NBC News they fear┬áKayla Stratton, 24, and her 11-month-old son Paul Merritte, have been kidnapped by Paul’s father, Clarence Merritte. Stratton was last seen Friday night in Streator, Illinois, in an apparent dispute with Merritte, who is being treated as a suspect in the mother and child’s disappearance.

According to NBC News, police said that Merritte chased Stratton in his car while she was driving another vehicle on Friday night, ramming her car repeatedly and forcing it off the road, when it hit a utility pole. He then allegedly dragged her by the hair and forced her into his own car, which was later found abandoned. The baby is believed to have been in Merritte’s car before he chased Stratton off the road; police told NBC the infant was “consensually taken” by her father.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LaSalle County Sheriff’s office at (815) 433-2161.


Photo: LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office

Ellen is a seasoned journalist and former media & entertainment reporter with a taste for true crime. Formerly a senior editor at IBTimes, her work has appeared in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Maxim, NYMag, Indiewire, and more. She co-produced the HBO documentary "Youth Knows No Pain" and appeared in a documentary series that aired alongside the Lifetime movie "Manson's Lost Girls."