Gone Without a Trace: Search for local pregnant mom missing for 4 years
ASHBURN, Va. (WJLA) - Ashburn resident Bethany Decker, a 21-year-old married mother of a young boy, was expecting her second child. She was close to finishing her studies at George Mason University, but in 2011, she disappeared. She was gone without a trace.
More than four years later, 7 On your Side Fighting Back Investigator Jennifer Donelan visits with Decker's mother. She sits down with Loudoun County Sheriff's Office detectives and revisits Decker's life in the days leading up to her mysterious disappearance.
The 7 On Your Side team also speaks with a woman who survived a near-fatal shooting and could have vital information in Decker's case. And we hear from Bethany Decker herself in a letter she penned five years ago. The letter arrived at a relative's home last year and sheds light on a young woman's hopes and dreams for herself.
Decker's case is filled with the twists and turns of a marriage, an affair, a costly three week delay between the last time she was seen and the first call to 911, and the recent bombshell that left her family in shock.
The letter from Bethany to Bethany:
The words of a young 19 year old woman to herself and the plans she had for her future. There were goals she did accomplish and dreams she was on the verge of making come true by the time she turned 21. Sadly, she disappeared before the letter to herself arrived 5 years later.
While Decker's husband, Emile, the father of the couple's young son, was serving duty in Afghanistan, Decker began a relationship with a man she met at work: Ronald Roldan. He moved in with Decker, but her family said Roland was physically abusive and she was scared. Her mother said they were in the midst of coming up with an escape plan for her daughter when she went missing. Detectives said Roland was the last person to see her.
According to his attorney, Decker's husband, Emile, knew of the affair his wife began with Roland while he was gone. Shortly before Decker disappeared, the couple traveled Hawaii to try to patch things up. However, upon their return, only days later, Decker didn't show up to see her husband off for his return to Afghanistan. During the initial investigation into his wife's disappearance,his lawyer says the husband returned stateside, took a polygraph and underwent hours of interrogation. Sources close to the case told ABC 7 news, Emile Decker will no longer voluntarily speak with detectives in the case. However, Decker's lawyer said in response his client had and still has nothing to hide and, said, Emile Decker is willing to meet with investigators with counsel present. Decker's attorney said has since divorced his wife.
According to Decker's mother, her daughter was 3 months pregnant when she went missing. It's unclear as to who the father was.
The delayed call to 911:
On January 29th, 2011, Decker called the restaurant where she worked to set up her schedule and that was last time anyone other than her boyfriend ever heard from her. The call to 911 didn't happen until three weeks later when Decker's grandparents went to her Ashburn apartment, found her car, but couldn't find their granddaughter. Detectives named the boyfriend Roland a person of interest in the case.
A mother's plea:
Decker's mother wonders every day if this will be the day her daughter will be found. She is holding onto hope that maybe her daughter did escape on her own and hasn't revealed herself out of concern for her family's safety. She, along with detectives, explained now is the time for anyone who may have information in Decker's case to speak up. Her mother nows work diligently with the "Help Save the Next Girl" initiative. She has focused her life outside of work and family on finding her daughter and helping to save other young women from abusive and predatory relationships.
And finally....the bombshell:
Last year, five hours south in Pinehurst, North Carolina, a woman survived a horrible beating and shooting. She said the man responsible for shooting her was her new boyfriend, Ronald Roland, the person of interest in Decker's missing persons case. Roland is now sitting in jail facing an attempted murder charge. The woman, despite being shot in the head, gave detectives heart pounding information. She told us "Ronald told me he could make people disappear."
Ways you can help:
To provide information in the case, please call the Loudoun County's Sheriff's office at 703-777-0445
To offer support you can follow the case through the "Fighting For Bethany" Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/203067906380653/
To learn more about local efforts to help young women protect themselves from predatory situations visit "Help Save the Next Girl" at http://www.helpsavethenextgirl.com