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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

200 assault charges filed

Sunday, July 13, 2003

(Photo)
John Merritt
SIKESTON -- A Sikeston resident has been arrested and charged with approximately 200 counts of sexual assaults that occurred over a three-year period.

John Merritt, 31, was arrested after he was stopped Friday morning, while detectives were watching his residence, awaiting a search warrant, according to Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden.

According to Juden three victims that were sexually assaulted by the suspect have come forward with information. Juden continued that the three female victims ages at the time of the reports were 8, 9 and 13. Interviews with the victims by DPS detectives and the Division of Family Services personnel led to the multi-count indictment by Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd.

Merritt is currently being held at DPS holding facility awaiting transfer to the Scott County Sheriff's Department under a $1 million cash-bond. A search warrant was served on the suspect's residence by DPS detectives and the Scott County Sheriff's Department deputies late Friday evening looking for additional evidence in connection with the case.

Juden praised the efforts of the officers involved in the investigation to date but states that there is a lot more work to do in this case. The investigation is continuing and additional interviews with potential victims are scheduled.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Sikeston DPS at 471-6200 or Crimestoppers at 471-1500. Calls can be kept confidential.