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Martinsburg man accused of soliciting 11-year-old Eastern Panhandle girl

Wade Eugene Decker was arrested by the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit

July 24, 2013
  • Decker
Decker

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 25-year-old man is accused of soliciting an 11-year-old Eastern Panhandle girl for sex, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Wade Eugene Decker of 1819 Berkeley Station Road, Martinsburg, was arraigned Tuesday by Magistrate Harry L. Snow on single felony counts of solicitation of a minor using a computer, attempted use of a minor to produce obscene matter, use of obscene matter to seduce a minor and display of obscene matter to a minor, according to court records.

Decker was being held in Eastern Regional Jail Wednesday on bonds totaling $175,000, according to court and jail records.

Decker was arrested Tuesday without incident by the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit about 100 yards from the Lambert Park pool in Martinsburg. He was walking to what was supposed to be a meeting with an 11-year-old girl, state police spokesman 1st Sgt. Michael Baylous said.

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Interactions between the girl and the defendant surfaced in North Carolina when a relative of the victim spoke with police there on July 10,  Sgt. D.E. Boober of the West Virginia State Police said in a complaint against Decker.

The girl was staying with the relative for the summer, according to court documents.

A detective with the New Bern (N.C.) Police Department told Boober last Friday that the relative of the child discovered the defendant had told the girl he wished to “mess around” with her even after she repeatedly told him that she was only 11-years-old, the court documents said.

The detective was able to assume control of the girl’s mobile phone and her identity to see whether the suspect would become more deliberate in stating his desired relationship with the victim, Boober said.

He said the conversation continued, with the suspect repeatedly attempting to get the victim to send him nude photos of herself. The suspect also sent a graphic image of himself to the detective’s undercover account, Boober said.

Police traced the mobile phone number used in the communications back to the defendant at the Berkeley Station Road address.

Boober noted that he was familiar with the defendant’s brother because he is a registered sex offender who resides in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., according to the complaint.

On Monday, police sent a photo to the suspect’s phone to see if he would travel to a particular location in Berkeley County to meet up with the girl.

Boober said the defendant responded with a headshot of himself, posting the statement “what u think.”

On Tuesday, the defendant and the suspect continued to engage the detective, who was still posing as the victim, in sexually explicit conversations, Boober alleged.

At one point in the conversations, the suspect indicated he was not sure if he would go to the predetermined meeting place, Boober said in the complaint.

Members of the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, U.S. Marshals Service and State Police Criminal Interdiction Patrol unit assisted in making the arrest, Baylous said.

— Matthew Umstead

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