An Amber Alert was issued Friday for Allie Michele Broadaway, who was allegedly abducted, according to a release from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
County authorities were contacted by the Southwestern Virginia Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, which had received a complaint from a social media messaging application regarding alleged messages between a 12-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man.
The Henry County Sheriff’s Office investigated the messages and identified the girl as Allie Michelle Broadaway of Bassett, Virginia. The adult man allegedly was Kaleb Christopher Merritt, 21 of 1030 Lemm Road, Spring, Texas.
Through the investigation, authorities alleged that Merritt met Broadaway in December 2020 on Instagram. They communicated via social media until he allegedly traveled to Virginia in early February 2021 to meet with Broadaway.
Investigators found the man had been frequenting a 24-hour fitness facility located on Greensboro Road, in Martinsville. Investigators found Merritt inside the fitness facility, and at that time, seized his electronic devices to be forensically analyzed.
Upon completing the forensic analysis, authorities said that upon arriving in Henry County, Merritt allegedly set up a camp in a wooded area behind Broadaway’s home and met with Broadaway on several occasions. He allegedly communicated with Broadaway via a messaging app and instructed her to leave her home. Authorities believe that after being coerced to leave her home, she was picked up by and hasn’t been seen since.
Broadaway was last seen at 2373 Reed Creek Drive, Bassett, around 1:45 p.m. Friday, according to authorities.
She is described as having brown hair and blue eyes in the alert, issued by the Virginia State Police for Henry County authorities. She is 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighs 107 pounds. When last seen, she was wearing a grey James Madison University sweatshirt and dark-colored fleece pants, according to the alert.
She is possibly traveling in a 2000 light green Mercury Grand Marquis, Texas registration DMP-2294, the alert stated.
Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said a direction of travel is not known.
Merritt is wanted for abduction in connection with the incident.
He is described as a white man with brown hair and green eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. A clothing description was not available for Merritt.
Anyone having information is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards of up to $2,500 for information related to crime. The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.
The incident remains under investigation by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the FBI.