Boyfriend to be charged in 2011 disappearance of Va. woman Bethany Decker

Bethany Decker, of Loudoun County, was five months pregnant when she disappeared in January 2011. (Courtesy Kim Nelson)

Almost 10 years after 21-year-old Bethany Decker was last seen in her Ashburn, Virginia, apartment, her live-in boyfriend, Ronald Roldan, is being charged with her disappearance. Decker was five months pregnant at the time she disappeared.

“We received notice from the Sheriff’s Office that they have obtained a warrant for Ronald Roldan for the abduction of Bethany Decker,” Buta Biberaj, Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney told WTOP.

Soon after Decker’s disappearance on Jan. 29, 2011, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office investigators learned she had been in an abusive relationship with Roldan, while her husband, Emile Decker, an Army National Guardsman, was deployed in Afghanistan.

Until now, investigators never charged Roldan or named him as a suspect, but have said he was no longer willing to answer questions about Decker’s disappearance.

Roldan is about to be released from a North Carolina prison. He was charged with attempted murder after a 2014 domestic violence attack on girlfriend Vickey Willoughby in her home in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

In May 2016, Roldan pleaded guilty to two reduced charges in North Carolina: felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

North Carolina online court records list Tuesday, Nov. 10 as Roldan’s projected release date for the attack on Willoughby. She lost an eye in the shooting.

According to Biberaj, the Loudoun County’s Sheriff’s Office has “lodged a detainer on Mr. Roldan in North Carolina based upon our office’s policy of extradition in surrounding states for felonies. I expect that they will pick him up upon his release or soon thereafter.”

When Roldan was convicted in 2016, North Carolina prosecutors said after Roldan finished his prison time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would take him into custody for deportation proceedings to Bolivia.

The maximum sentence in Virginia for abduction is 10 years in prison.

Decker’s remains have never been found, and investigators have never said they recovered any forensic evidence of murder. It’s unclear whether prosecutors intend to seek an indictment in a “no body” murder case.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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