MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — An Atwater prison employee was arrested on suspicion of endangering, assaulting and kidnapping a juvenile, according to the Merced Police Department.

Merced police said on March 18, a group of juveniles was walking through a neighborhood when one of them kicked a front door of a residence. Earl Stokes, a 50-year-old local resident, noticed what had happened and allegedly chased after the group.

Police said Stokes told the group to stop or they would be shot.

One of the juveniles did stop and police said Stokes grabbed them and ordered the juvenile into the bed of his truck. Stokes then brought the juvenile back to the area where the door was kicked, police reported.

Police said the juvenile was visibly injured in the incident.

On Wednesday, police said Stokes, who works at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater, turned himself in following an investigation.

Officers said that Stokes was booked into jail on suspicion of kidnapping, criminal threats, child endangerment, reckless driving, assault and battery. He has since posted bail and is no longer in police custody.

Investigators added that Stokes was not the victim in the original incident and no specific juvenile has been identified by police as a suspect.

Merced police officers ask anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective Lupian at 209-385-7844 or by email at, or the Anonymous Tip Line at 209-385-4725.