Merris Badcock is an award-winning crime investigative reporter and fill-in anchor for WPTV, the top-rated NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla. She is the recipient of a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award and two first-place Florida's Associated Press Broadcasters Awards. She is dedicated to telling stories that will change your life and community for the better.
When three Boca Raton sisters set out to share a message about domestic violence, they turned to Merris to make sure their voices were heard. Bryce, Brady and Blain Gemstone lost both parents in a single night during a violent, domestic fight. As a result of their work with the Gemstone sisters, Merris and photographer Kaan Pala were honored with a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award and a first-place Florida's Associated Press Broadcasters Award.
Merris was the first reporter in the country to uncover a 911 call made by Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, and the only reporter to interview the shooter's guardian a day after the attacks. As a result, Merris’s colleagues nominated her for a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award in the Continuing Coverage category.
Recently, Merris won a Florida's Associated Press Broadcasters award for an investigation into 'Death row decisions: Sentencing killers to death may be harder under new Florida law'.
Before South Florida, Merris was a reporter and fill-in anchor for WTKR/WGNT, the CBS/CW affiliate in Norfolk, Va. Shortly after joining the team, she quickly became one of the station's lead investigative reporters.
With help and trust from community sources, Merris uncovered the story of an accused serial killer, the woman’s criminal history in Virginia Beach, and the joint state and FBI investigation into her past. (The woman, Debbie Siers-Hill, was later arrested by federal authorities.)
When school board officials threatened to take away pay raises from Suffolk teachers, Merris compared teacher salaries across Hampton Roads and uncovered a recent 13 percent raise for Suffolk’s superintendent. (Teachers got to keep their pay raises.)
When Merris heard first-time offender, Lenny Singleton had been given three life sentences for robbery crimes, she aired a story comparing the cost of Singleton's incarceration ($1,000,000+) next to the amount of money he stole ($550). Days after the story aired, Virginia’s Parole Board recommended Singleton’s release. He was pardoned by Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2017.
In Norfolk, Merris also actively covered breaking news, high-profile court cases, jailhouse interviews, and even went from zero to 165 miles per hour in two seconds while visiting one of the most dangerous environments in the world: the flight deck of an active Navy aircraft carrier.
Merris began her broadcasting career at WDMV in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Her continuous stories on the region's 'heroin highway' inspired the formation of several coalitions and helped spur beginnings of a government-sponsored recovery center in Berkeley County, W.Va. One of the coolest experiences as a rookie reporter? Going live from the White House lawn.
Merris is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, RTDNA and the Florida First Amendment Foundation. She volunteers with the Junior League of the Palm Beaches and is a member of the Society of the Four Arts and the Norton Museum of Art. In her free time, you can find her at the beach or tackling her next D.I.Y. home renovation project.