Saturday, 10:50 a.m. update
The Henry County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference Saturday at 3 p.m. to release information about the abduction of Allie Broadaway.
10 News broadcasts this press conference live on WSLS 10, our website, our Facebook page and our app.
Virginia State Police issued an Amber Alert after a child abduction agency alleged it happened Friday afternoon.
Allie Michele Broadaway, 12, is believed to be in extreme danger and was reported missing by her family at around 1:45 p.m. at 2373 Reed Creek Drive in Bassett.
Allie is about 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 107 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a gray James Madison University sweatshirt and dark fleece pants.
Authorities believe she was kidnapped by a 21-year-old Texas man, Caleb Christopher Merritt.
Merritt is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.
Police believe he may be driving a 2000 bright green Mercury Grand Marquis with the Texas plate DMP-2294.
The Henry County Sheriff’s Office was contacted Thursday by the Southwestern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force about a complaint about social media messages exchanged between Broadaway and Merritt.
Investigators found Merritt visited a 24-hour fitness facility on Greensboro Road, where they were able to locate him and confiscate his electronic device for forensic analysis.
Through further investigation, authorities found that Merritt and Allie met on Instagram in December 2020, where they communicated with each other until Merrit traveled to Virginia to meet her in early February 2021.
Authorities found that Merritt set up camp in a wooded area behind her home and met with her several times before using a messaging app to prompt her to leave her home.
Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said based on what they knew Thursday they could not arrest Merritt.
“We checked. We pushed every road there was, but there was just no likely reason at the time,” Perry said. “We’re just trying to protect ourselves from whatever we can.”
Below is an interview 10 news reporter Shayne Dwyer did with Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry late Friday night about Allie’s kidnapping:
Authorities believe that after she was forced to leave home, Merritt picked her up and has not been seen since.
Perry said that while Allie willingly left with Merritt, she is still a minor, which is why authorities are treating this as a child abduction case.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751.
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