A 50-year-old suspect in a kidnapping incident turns himself in, detectives say.

Earl Stokes, a USP Atwater Employee, was arrested for kidnapping, criminal threats, child endangerment, reckless driving, assault, and battery, according to police.

He is also the husband of a Merced Police officer.

Detectives say Merced resident Earl Stokes, was under investigation stemming from an incident involving a group of juveniles.


On March 18, 2022, a group of juveniles was walking through a north Merced neighbourhood when at least one of them kicked the front door to a residence. The group of juveniles walked towards the area of Davenport Park in the City of Merced.

Stokes became aware of what occurred and drove his personal vehicle into Davenport Park, to chase the juveniles down. One of the juveniles stopped after Stokes told them to stop, or they would be shot. Stokes grabbed the juvenile who was on the ground, causing visible injuries. Stokes ordered the juvenile into the bed of his truck and was forcibly taken back to the residence where the door was kicked.

Stokes was not the victim of the original incident nor had any specific juvenile been identified as a suspect. Stokes is an employee at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater.

Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective Lupian at (209)385-7844 or by email at [email protected].