Ex-boyfriend denied bond in Loudoun Co. for 2011 disappearance, death of Bethany Decker

A Loudoun County, Virginia, judge on Tuesday denied bond for Ronald Roldan, who will stand trial in the 2011 disappearance and death of his pregnant girlfriend, Bethany Anne Decker.

Roldan was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in December 2020, after being indicted for her abduction in November 2020.

Roldan’s public defender, Lorrie O’Donnell, argued prosecutors have presented no evidence that Decker is dead, or that Roldan did anything to hurt her. Decker was 21, pregnant, estranged from her husband and living with Roldan when she was last seen on Jan. 29, 2011.

To this point, Loudoun County investigators have not provided any evidence that suggests Decker is dead. Conversely, they have never developed any evidence that she was alive the day after she disappeared.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Circuit Court Judge Douglas Fleming Jr. heard from a woman who was shot in the face by Roldan while the two lived together in North Carolina after Decker disappeared.

In 2016, Roldan pleaded guilty in North Carolina to felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury, in the attack on Vickey Willoughby. At the time, she told WTOP Roldan warned her he could “make people disappear.”

Willoughby lost an eye in the shooting.

Last year, Roldan’s lawyer asked the judge to preclude Loudoun County jurors from hearing about the North Carolina attack and claims that Roldan had been physically abusive with Decker, but the request was denied.

Fleming said that, given the seriousness of Roldan’s current charge and the North Carolina domestic assault that happened three years after Decker disappeared, releasing Roldan on bond would be a potential threat to the community.

Roldan’s trial is projected to last one month, and is currently set to begin Jan. 30, 2023.

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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