Man holds girl in captivity for months, impregnates her and kicks her in the stomach killing the fetus
20-year-old Brian Merchant-Jones was arrested and is facing four felony charges: two for malicious assault, one for kidnapping, and one for first-degree murder.
A Fairmont, West Virginia man who was accused of abducting a teenager, holding her hostage for about a year, impregnating her, and then assaulting her and causing her to miscarry the baby has been apprehended and charged.
According to WBOY, the Marion County Sheriff's Department was notified about the abuse committed by 20-year-old Brian Merchant-Jones after detectives attended a March 28, 2019, Child Advocacy Center interview of a teen who had been missing as a runaway since March 4, 2018.
The girl, who was found a day before the interview, told deputies she had been with Merchant-Jones the entire time she was missing. She said she had become pregnant by him during the first months of the abduction, and that sometime in late 2018, he kicked her in the abdomen.
She said that just hours after that incident, she miscarried the fetus, delivering it at a residence in Fairmont.
The teen claimed she then traveled to a residence in Rivesville and buried the stillborn fetus. Officers who were sent to the residence and conducted a search of the property found the remains of the fetus.
She also described how Merchant-Jones had abused her in captivity. She revealed that he physically assaulted her on a near-daily basis, mentioning one incident from February 2019 in particular where he allegedly beat her until she urinated, choked her to the point where she lost consciousness, and then hit her on the back of the head with a 40-ounce beer bottle.
The teen said he also limited her ability to contact the outside world, and made her have all her phone conversations on speaker phone with him listening in.
To ensure they were not caught, she said he moved them to different residences in Marion County, including Fairmont, Barrackville and Mannington. Then, when he was incarcerated for an unrelated crime, she said he had associates watch over her and that she feared she would suffer "severe physical harm" if she attempted to leave.
Officers from the Marion County Sheriff's Department along with those from the Fairmont Police Department and US Marshals worked together and arrested Merchant-Jones at around 1:30 am on Tuesday, April 2.
Speaking about the incident, Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said, "We received reports from a juvenile that Mr. Merchant was abusive and had held her against her will and had kicked her in the abdominal area while she was pregnant with child, causing a miscarriage. We’re following up on all of that with medical records and things of that nature to determine exactly what occurred there."
He is facing four felony charges: two for malicious assault, one for kidnapping, and one for first-degree murder. He is currently being held at the North Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond.