Authorities are searching for Santa Barbara County resident Faith Merritt, 32, and her three-year-old son, Maxwell DiNardo, after Merritt took Maxwell from the S.B. County area in late July, violating a custody agreement she had with his father. The father reported his son as missing to the Sheriff’s Office because Merritt failed to exchange child custody with him and he had lost contact with her.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Thursday that she has filed criminal charges against Merritt for “withholding a child from a parent” and for violation of a court order by refusing to abide by a custody arrangement.
Merritt and Maxwell are believed to be in Northern California, and anyone with information about their location is asked to contact investigating officer Jesse Rose at (805) 568-2360.