Police searching for woman after man runs her off the road, takes her captive

Kayla Stratton

Kayla Stratton

STREATOR -- A LaSalle County woman is missing after the father of her son ran a car she was riding in off the road and then took her captive, according to police.

The LaSalle County Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Kayla Stratton was forced off the road by 33-year-old Clarence Merritte around 11:30 p.m Friday. According to witnesses who live nearby, Stratton was riding with a friend who was driving the car.

Clarence and Paul Merritte

Clarence and Paul Merritte

Authorities said Merritte rammed the car from behind in Streator, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, forcing it to crash into a utility pole. He then allegedly struck Stratton and dragged her out of the car by her hair before forcing her into his vehicle.

Police are now searching for Stratton and Merritte's 11-month-old son, Paul, who is believed to be with them. A neighbor said the friend who was driving Stratton indicated that police found Merritt's vehicle less than a mile away, and they may have switched cars.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the LaSalle County Sheriff at (815) 433-2161.