Lima woman, boyfriend arrested after abducting her children

By J Swygart -

LIMA — Four Lima children were located Tuesday in Kenton after a brief search conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI.

On Tuesday, Marianne L. Merritt, 40, of Lima, along with her boyfriend, Charles Perkins, had taken four of Merritt’s young children: Damara Croley, 13; Benjamin Karl-Leland Croley, 12; Patience Wilson, 9; and Damien Wilson, 8 out of the city in a 2000 Chrysler Voyager, despite the fact that Merritt does not have custodial rights to the children. Perkins is said to be abusive towards children and had an active warrant in Allen County, according to police.

The vehicle was thought to be headed south, prompting Lima police to make contact with law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida in an attempt to locate them. However, the search ended Tuesday afternoon at a residence in Kenton, according to Lima Det. Steve Stechschulte. Perkins and Merritt attempted to flee when law enforcement converged on the residence but were taken into custody without incident.

Perkins was arrested on the active warrant, while Merritt was held on suspicion of interference with custody, pending formal charges. The children were unharmed and are in the temporary custody of Allen County Children Services.

By J Swygart

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.

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