07/23/13 — Two face charges in death of child

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Two face charges in death of child

By John Joyce
Published in News on July 23, 2013 1:46 PM

A Mount Olive woman has been charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run in the May 31 death of a 21-month-old child.

As a result of the N.C. Highway Patrol investigation, a warrant has been issued for Michelle Merritt, 49, of 2698 Summerlins Crossroads Road.

The child, Ismael Aleman, ran into the road in front of his Mount Olive home on Garners Chapel Road about 6 p.m. that Friday when the hit and run occurred.

Less than a week after the accident, investigators announced they had identified the vehicle and located the driver, saying at the time charges would be forthcoming.

The hit-and-run warrant has been issued but has not been served, a Highway Patrol official said.

Investigators, after consulting with the District Attorney's Office, came to the conclusion that the hit-and-run charge was warranted, officials said.

Troopers said Merritt didn't stop for the accident, although she said she stopped later to check her car for damage and continued driving after she didn't see any.

The Duplin County Sheriff's Office has also filed charges -- contributing to the delinquency of a minor -- against the mother of the child, Delmi Garcia, of 1983 Garners Chapel Road.

The child had been playing in the front yard with a 14-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy. The accident occurred while it was still daylight along a straight stretch of road.