Arrest warrants issued for man suspected of kidnapping Streator woman

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

STREATOR, Ill. (WLS) -- Arrest warrants have been issued for a man suspected of kidnapping a woman in LaSalle County, police said.

Kayla Stratton and her 11-month-old son disappeared on Friday. The child has been found and is safe, but Stratton remains missing.

Police are now looking for the baby's father, Clarence Merritte. The LaSalle County State's Attorney's Office has issued arrest warrants for Merritte on charges of unlawful restraint, driving while license revoked, domestic battery and aggravated assault.

Kayla Stratton.

The LaSalle County Sheriff's Office said a man forced a woman into his car after ramming the woman's car from behind and running her off the road at the end of East 1st Street on Friday. The male driver of the suspect vehicle then took a woman and child from the crashed vehicle and forced her into his car. The suspect's car was found a few blocks away, the sheriff's office said.

A family member said Stratton had dyed her hair black the day she went missing.

Police say about 10 p.m. Sunday, Streator police received a phone call from the baby's grandmother, who told them a friend of Stratton's had found the baby outside her home. The friend then called the grandmother.

The Department of Children and Family Services was called to assist in the legal transfer of custody of the child to his grandparents. The child was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for a health evaluation.

Streator is located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.