EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Prosecutors in southern Illinois have filed kidnapping and child abduction charges against a 39-year-old man they say took his 13-year-old stepdaughter and her infant son.
Police haven’t located Christopher M. Derleth, his stepdaughter Katherine Elizabeth Derleth and her son, Christopher Ray Derleth. He’s previously been ordered not to contact the girl. Madison County prosecutors announced the charges Monday. The three went missing over the weekend. Officials say the girl and baby were taken from a home in the town of Carpenter, north of Edwardsville.
“These charges allow us to issue a nationwide warrant for the arrest of Christopher Derleth,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “We hope that authorities will be able to apprehend him quickly and bring these two young people safely into protective custody so they can be returned to the area.”
Authorities say the baby was born Sept. 1. Sheriff John Lakin said authorities are worried because the infant is so young and the girl gave birth not long ago.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the children were in the care of the department at the time of the kidnapping. She said the guardians who had custody of Katherine and the baby were not present at the time the children were taken.
Bond County State’s Attorney Chris Bauer said Christopher M. Derleth has been the subject of two criminal investigations there but had not been charged. Bauer declined to give more information.
“There is a prior, ongoing case at work in Bond County, and so based on that court order (Christopher Derleth) is not allowed to be in contact with (Katherine,) he is not allowed to have her in his custody and he is certainly not allowed to be removing her from the jurisdiction,” Gibbons said. “Our immediate interest is the safety of the two minors, and that arises out of the kidnapping and abduction case.”
Authorities think they’re possibly headed to West Virginia in a green minivan. An Amber Alert has been issued in the state.