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9/28/2016

Missing 13-Year-Old Girl and Infant Son Found in West Virginia as Stepfather Arrested on Kidnapping Charges

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The 39-year-old Illinois man suspected of kidnapping his 13-year-old stepdaughter and her 2-week-old son last week has been taken into custody after all three were located in a rural mountainous range south of Charleston, West Virginia on Saturday.
 
The Madison County Sheriff's Department in Illinois announced Saturday that Katherine Derleth and her infant child, Christopher R. Derleth, had been found after a nationwide search launched following their disappearance on Sept. 18 from their foster care home. 
They were located with the girl's stepfather, Christopher M. Derleth, who authorities allege abducted the children. Derleth was taken into custody without incident. At a press conference last Monday before he was found, authorities said Christopher M. Derleth was charged with aggravated kidnapping and child abduction. He was also charged with allegedly violating a protective order, filed before the alleged abduction, which barred him from having contact with Katherine.

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office in West Virginia announced via Twitter that the children were "ok" and being evaluated at a local hospital.
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Missing 13-Year-Old Girl and Infant Son Found in West Virginia as Stepfather Arrested on Kidnapping Charges| Crime & Courts, True Crime

Investigators Working to Determine Paternity of Infant

Investigators said they were concerned about health of the newborn and his teen mother, who has a congenital heart defect and a pacemaker and had just undergone a cesarean section delivery. 
Authorities told PEOPLE months before the alleged abduction, they were investigating how Katherine became pregnant, and that the investigation focused on Derleth as well as another man Katherine had been living with. 
As a result of that investigation, the state removed Katherine and her son from her home and placed them with a foster family, authorities said. "Once we are able to find out the paternity of the child, there will no doubt be charges of criminal sexual abuse filed against that individual," Greenville, Illinois, Police Chief Lou Lorton previously told PEOPLE. "The original complaint stemmed from the fact that there was a 13-year-old that was pregnant and there were, at the time, two individuals living with her in the home," Lorton said. "We obviously don't know who the father of the child is, but that's what launched the investigation." Police are not discussing what prompted the alleged kidnapping but have said they believe it was planned.

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