Neal Augenstein, wtop.com
ASHBURN, Va. – The last person to see Bethany Ann Decker, before she disappeared in Jan. 2011 while five months pregnant, believes she is alive and will return home safely.
Ronald Roldan’s attorney, Andi Geloo, tells WTOP, “my client remains hopeful and prays daily that Bethany will come home.”
Loudoun County Sheriff’s investigators have said Roldan was living with Decker, despite her being married to Emile Decker, who was serving in Afghanistan. Emile Decker has since returned to the U.S.
Bethany Decker had described Roldan’s demeanor to family and friends as “controlling and abusive” according to investigators in court documents.
Investigators searched Roldan’s mother’s home, with a search warrant, soon after her disappearance.
“My client has met with them, and has been cooperative,” Geloo says.
Sources in the sheriff’s office said Roldan eventually ceased answering questions.
WTOP reported earlier Decker, whose due date was in Aug. 2011, met Roldan at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Centreville, while she worked there.
According to investigators, it’s unclear who fathered Decker’s child.
“The Decker family is thankful that Mr. Roldan is hopeful and full of prayer, ” says family spokesman Peter Byrnes.
“We’re holding out hope she’s fine, and somewhere else, and wanting to be alone,” Byrnes said.
Byrnes and investigators have said there’s no indication of foul play, activity on her bank accounts, cellphones or email.
“The family is of the opinion she’s still out there,” Byrnes says. “We just want to know she’s okay.”
Byrnes acknowledges, “It’s frustrating to not have an ending to the story.”
“The family stands by Mr. Decker,” says Byrnes. “He’s trying to get on with things – this is a monumentally frustrating and upsetting situation.”
Last week, Loudoun Sheriff Michael Chapman declined to characterize whether Emile Decker or Ronald Roldan were cooperating or targets of the investigation, saying the case remains active.
“My client has a lot of confidence in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office,” Geloo says. “He has complete confidence they’re working hard on the case.”
Byrnes says Roldan has never reached out to the Decker family, and that few if any family members had ever met him. Investigators say Roldan saw Decker after she last saw her husband, who was returning to Afghanistan after military leave.
“What happened in their last meeting, we don’t know,” Byrnes says.
“It’s odd that someone falls off the face of the earth,” Byrnes says. “We’re just kind of watching and waiting and hoping.”
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)