Man charged with kidnapping and assault and battery of Norton girl

NORTON, MA (WHDH) - Police said a 32-year-old man was charged with the kidnapping and assault and battery of a Norton girl who went missing Friday.

Police said the girl went missing from East Main Street in Norton along the Easton town line late Friday morning after she got into a disagreement with her mother. Police began searching the area just after noon. Norton Police Chief Brian Clark said the girl has family in Easton area and those locations were also searched.

Clark said police received two tips from witnesses, who saw a girl matching the missing child’s description talking to a black man in a black vehicle at around 11:45 a.m. The man was later identified as Avery Howard, of Brockton. Police believe the girl had been walking along Route 123 on her own and the vehicle may have been picked up near 792 Foundry St.

At around 2:45 p.m., Clark said an officer saw the vehicle while searching the area and stopped it. Clark said the missing girl was in the passenger’s seat.

Clark said Howard had a criminal history but did not elaborate. Clark said Howard does not know the girl and is not related to her. Clark said Howard’s intentions are not known and remain under investigation.

Police said the girl was unharmed and uninjured and has been reunited with her parents.

Howard was taken to the New Bedford House of Correction and will be arraigned at a later date.

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