WILKES-BARRE — A man from Wilkes-Barre remained jailed Monday in New Jersey where he was arrested when authorities located a teenage girl reported missing on Friday.
State police on Saturday issued an alert for the whereabouts of Reynaldo Mercado, 31, of Maffett Street, who stood accused of taking a 14-year-old girl from Wilkes-Barre.
The teen girl was last seen at about 2:15 p.m. Friday with Mercado on Maffett Street, state police stated.
State police had considered the girl to be at risk of harm or injury.
Authorities in New Jersey say Mercado and the girl were found together at a residence in West New York on Saturday.
Mercado was jailed at the Hudson County Correctional Facility as the girl was returned to her family, authorities said.
City police alleged Carmen Cardy reported her daughter missing and had suspicion she was with Mercado, according to court records.
Cardy told police she had not given consent for Mercado or anyone else to take her daughter from her residence, court records say.
As a result of the missing person report, authorities issued alerts and video message boards in an effort to locate the teen girl.
Police said the girl was found with Mercado by authorities in West New York.
An arrest warrant was signed Saturday by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke charging Mercado with a single count of interference with custody of children.
It was not immediately known if the missing person investigation is connected to a homicide on Donald Court, Wilkes-Barre, where the body of Fred Boote, 58, was found in his bedroom early Friday morning.
An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross determined Boote died from multiple stab wounds.
Police returning a lost dog to Boote’s residence discovered the grisly scene.
The homicide investigation led authorities to search a residence at 95 Maffett St. late Friday afternoon.
Police obtained a search warrant from District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke after they found evidence related to the homicide on Donald Court.
According to the search warrant:
The Wilkes-Barre City Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at 95 Maffett St., and discovered a fire in the lower basement on Friday.
Fire fighters discovered a tar paper that covered clothing and shoes burning in an active fire, before it was extinguished the search warrant mentioned.
Fire Chief Alan Klapat, determined that the fire was set intentionally.
Wilkes-Barre City Police, Commander Joe Coffey, was notified by fire fighters because they thought that it might be related to the homicide from earlier in the morning.
Coffay arrived at 95 Maffett St., and observed the burning sneakers and clothing. He then took pictures and sent them to a state trooper, who was examining the scene at 14 Donald Court at the time.
The trooper then sent photos of the footwear patterns from Donald Court that appeared to match the footwear patterns at 95 Maffett St.
The search warrant signed by District Judge Donald Whittaker allowed police to search and seize the burned sneakers and clothing for the criminal investigation to continue.
Mercado resides at 99 Maffett St.
Court records say Pocono Mountain Regional Police in Monroe County charged Mercado in 2006 for a burglary in November 2005. Mercado was sentenced by a Monroe County judge to two-to-four years in state prison, court records say.
Upon his release from state prison, Mercado was charged with fleeing a community corrections facility in Hazleton in November 2008, and was sentenced by a Luzerne County judge to 27-to-54 months in state prison on an escape charge, according to court records.
Mercado’s brother, Daniel Mercado, filed two protection-from-abuse petitions in Luzerne County Court against him in November 2017 and August 2016. Both petitions alleged Mercado threatened Daniel Mercado, and both petitions were dismissed when Daniel Mercado failed to appear in court to testify, court records say.
Daniel alleged Mercado threatened to harm him regarding a girlfriend in November 2017, and blamed his brother
Mercado’s brother, Daniel, filed a protection-from-abuse petition against him
Reach Ed Lewis at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TLEdLewis
Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes