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Home » Wayne County » Nine month investigation, manhunt for suspect in Wayne County assault ends with arrest on Friday

Nine month investigation, manhunt for suspect in Wayne County assault ends with arrest on Friday

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office has successfully concluded a nine-month investigation with the arrest of Matthew D. Merz, a 38-year-old resident of Grimsley, Tennessee. Merz faced multiple charges, including second-degree assault, two counts of criminal contempt, obstruction of breathing, menacing, and multiple counts of child endangerment. These charges originated from two domestic incidents, leading to arrest warrants issued on April 12, 2023.


Merz became a focal point of a widespread manhunt after being featured on the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page as the “Wanted Wednesday Individual” on April 19, 2023. This social media spotlight generated numerous tips, propelling the investigation forward. It was later discovered that Merz had fled to Tennessee, where he was staying with family.

The breakthrough came on December 14, 2023, when the Fentress County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee located Merz at his mother’s house. Following his detention in Tennessee, Wayne County deputies extradited him back to New York State on Friday. He is currently at the Wayne County Jail and is scheduled for a court appearance in the town of Ontario at a later date.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office extended its gratitude to the Fentress County Sheriff’s Office and the Wayne County District Attorney for their pivotal roles in apprehending Merz and facilitating his return to New York.