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Girl, 11, kicks man and foils kidnapping attempt in Worcester, police say

A terrified 11-year-old girl escaped from her alleged 51-year-old kidnapper Sunday in Worcester by kicking the man when he refused to let her go, authorities said Monday.

In a statement, Worcester police identified the suspect as Andrew Merriam of Hudson. A lawyer for Merriam declined to comment when reached by text message Monday.

According to the statement, police were alerted to the attempted abduction around 7:53 p.m. Sunday.

“The victim was able to escape and run to a nearby business," police said.

Authorities said responding officers learned Merriam had allegedly approached the girl at Endicott and Vernon streets and asked if she wanted to see his dog. He was with another man at the time whose identity isn’t known, police said.

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At one point, the statement said, Merriam allegedly “grabbed the victim and prevented her from leaving. The victim attempted to break free from Mr. Merriam several times but was unsuccessful. The victim was able to escape when she kicked Mr. Merriam. She then ran inside a local business to call for help.”

The girl gave cops a description of Merriam that was radioed out to the force.

“As a K9 officer was responding to the scene he saw a male matching the description of Mr. Merriam walking down Vernon Street toward Kelley Square,” the statement said. “When the officer approached Mr. Merriam he became confrontational. The officer radioed for assistance. Mr. Merriam was then taken into custody. The second male who was at the scene was not located.”

Merriam was arraigned Monday in Worcester District Court on charges of enticing a child under 16, kidnapping, and assault and battery, records show. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and bail was set at $1,000 cash or $10,000 bond, legal filings show.

“The victim was not injured during the incident,” authorities said.

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In setting the bail amount Monday, Judge Meghan S. Spring cited Merriam’s financial resources, the nature and circumstances of the allegations, the potential penalty he faces, and his record of prior convictions.

The order didn’t elaborate on the nature of those prior convictions.

Merriam’s next court date is slated for Nov. 16. Should he post bail, records show, Merriam must surrender his passport, refrain from possessing any guns or weapons, stay away from the alleged victim and have no contact with any children under 16.

Spring also wrote on the bail order that Merriam is required to “remain in counseling,” though she didn’t specify for what.

The statement of facts filed in court by Worcester police provides account of the incident.

The statement says the girl was “on the way to a local store” when she was approached by two unknown men.

“The victim was asked by the above listed defendant if she wanted to go see his dog,” the statement says. “The defendant then grabbed the victim by the arm preventing her from leaving or continuing to her destination. The victim is under 16 years old. The victim was placed in fear not sure where the above listed defendant was trying to take her.”

She was, however, sure of one thing: she wasn’t through fighting back.

“The victim attempted to yank arm away to escape the grasp of Andrew Merriam but was unsuccessful," the police document says. “The victim then attempt a to [sic] kick Andrew Merriam and was able to escape his grasp and ran towards a local business for safety.”

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The report also notes that the girl allegedly identified Merriam as the man who assaulted her.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.