Happy Tuesday fellow Crime Bloggers! On this next case, we have the disappearance of Bethany Decker, she left her in laws house and was never seen again. Let’s dig into the background of Bethany Decker and then we will look into her disappearance and investigation.
Bethany Decker was from Fredericksburg, Virginia, and she attended George Mason University and majored in global and economic change while working full-time. While at George Mason, she became pregnant by Emile Decker, an Army National Guardsman. They married in 2009 and their son was born 6 months later. Emile was often deployed to Afghanistan with his unit for months at a time. During those times, Bethany often left the boys with her in-laws in Columbia, while she worked and attended classes.
While working at a Italian restaurant, Bethany met Ronald Roldan, an immigrant from Bolivian and began having an extramarital affair with him. By 2010, there were strains in the marriage and Bethany moved to a separate apartment in Ashburn, Virginia. Soon after Ronald Roldan moved in with Bethany. According to her family, Bethany quickly found Ronald was abusive, possessive and controlling. Several times a day he demanded that she send him a picture of herself from her cellphone to show who she was with. Her parents began developing a plan to get her out of the relationship but not before she ended up pregnant before the end of the year.
In January 2011, Emile came back for his month-long leave after his deployment. Near the end of his leave, he and Bethany went on a vacation to Hawaii for a week. They returned on January 28 and spent the night at his parents in Maryland. Emile’s parents were unaware of the couples martial problems at this time.
The next morning, Emile saw Bethany before she went back to her apartment. Robert said he saw her there later that afternoon and he was last person to physically see her. During the day, Bethany called her employer to confirm her work schedule and that was the last contact she has had with anyone other than Emile or Robert.
On February 2, Emile’s leave ended, and he was scheduled to return to Afghanistan. Friends and family came to see him off at the airport, but Bethany was not there. They just believed her absence was due to the couple’s martial problems.
Friends and family did say that Bethany did her best to keep in contact with them but due to her busy life, balancing classes in her final semester at GMU with a full-time job, they had gotten use to not hearing from her for several days at a time so they were not worried as February 2011 started without hearing from her. However, later in the month, several of Bethany’s friends called her mother, Kim Nelson, saying that they had received numerous messages from her via her Facebook account but believed they did not come from Bethany herself.
By February 19, from not hearing from Bethany herself, Kim asked her parents to drive by and see if she was there. Bethany’s car was still out in front, but it was parked at an unusual angle with one tire flat and very dusty as it had not been touched in awhile. The grandparents stated that it was not like that one week earlier when they had drove by. When the grandparents knocked on Bethany’s door nobody answered. They decided to call the Loudoun County police and reported her missing.
Investigators found that Bethany had not used her bank accounts or cell phone since the last day that she was seen nor had she reported to work or attended any of her classes. They initially believed that Emile or Robert was the main person, and since both of them might have had motive to harm Bethany due to the love triangle that they were involved in.
With the help of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, they were able to reach Emile at his post in Afghanistan and talk to him by phone. They later were able to have him return to the US where he spoke with police at length and took a polygraph test.
Robert had moved out of the apartment owned by Bethany shortly after her disappearance since the least had expired and had gone to live with his mother in Centreville. He told police that he had just assumed that she had gone back to live with her family when she didn’t come back to the apartment.
Investigators became more interested in him when they learned that he had a prior criminal background, including on arrest for identity theft and later for public intoxication and destruction of property after a 2006 incident where he smashed a woman’s car window. He also gave them inconsistent answers to questions about when he had seen the car parked outside the apartment.
In March, police searched a open field near the apartment complex. They also obtained a search warrant for Robert’s current residence, specifying murder as the possible criminal offense on the affidavits. Among the items that were seized for examination were several cell phones, a laptop and some documents.
However, the police were not able to get any credible evidence from this material that might have helped them locate Bethany. Robert later stopped cooperating with the investigation and he had been described by police as a person of interest. Emile later obtained a divorce from his missing wife and it had since been reported that he will no longer speak with police unless his lawyer, who says his client had nothing to hide and is also present with him. There was no record ever suggesting that Bethany had given birth by her expected due date later that summer and police distributed to the public pictures of what she might look like near the end of her pregnancy.
Sheriff Steve Simpson told a local newspaper in 2011, “We feel we have probably interviewed folks in this investigation already that problem have information that we would like to have and have been reluctant to hand that information over yet. So we’re hopeful that as the days go by that they’ll realize that if they have information, no matter how insignificant they think it is, they will give it to us.”
A year later, Robert made his only public statements on the case and it was through his attorney. “My client remains hopeful and prays daily that Bethany will come home.” She said he had cooperated with investigators. “He has complete confidence they’re working hard on the case,” said Andi Geloo on his behalf.
Investigator Discovery Channel series Disappeared visited the area in late 2012, they were there to produce a segment on the case. Producers interviewed Bethany’s friends and family, newspaper reporters who had covered the story and police. One of the journalists that were interviewed speculated that the show was interested in the case because Bethany was pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and was also involved in a love triangle, “so there was a couple of ways this could go.” The episode aired at the end of November.
On the 3 year anniversary of Bethany’s disappeared, Kim Nelson challenged Robert Roland to take a polygraph test. “I would like to hear what happened,” she told Washington are news radio station WTOP-FM. “I’d like him to join the polygraph list like the rest of his did. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” In response, Andi Geloo repeated that Roldan had answered all questions he was asked during the original investigation and was innocent of any crimes that may have been committed.”
In 2014, Robert Roldan began another relationship with Vickey Willoughby, a woman het met in a Manassas restaurant since he remained in the area after Decker’s appearance. She said that Robert Roldan later grew controlling and she attempted to flee the relationship by moving to North Carolina, a few months later, but Roldan found out and followed her there.
There relationship had turned violent. During an argument at their house in November, Vickey pulled out a handgun that she had hidden in the living room to protect herself. She was able to shoot Robert twice, although he continued to struggle, and eventually gained control of the gun himself and shot Vickey 3 times and one of them was in the head.
They both survived however, and Vickey had lost an eye to the head wound that she had received. She was not charged since investigators believed that she had been acting in self-defense, but Robert Roldan was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a female and discharging a fireman in an occupied dwelling. After he was released from the hospital, he was taken to the Moore County jail and had a bond of $1 million.
Detectives from Loudoun County visited Robert in jail to ask if he was not interested in speaking with them about Bethany Decker’s disappearance again and he referred them to his attorney. In April 2015, he was charged with attempted murder over the incident with Vickey Willoughby. His attorney said he intended to plea not guilty to the charges.
Shortly after the incident, Vickey Willoughby appeared on an episode on Dr. Phil and was devoted to the Bethany Decker Case, she said that Robert Roldan had told her during one of their previous fights in November that he could make people disappear.
In May of 2016, after the evidence in the case had been suppressed, Robert Roldan accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors and he pled guilty to 2 felony assault charges and was sentenced to 6-8 years in prison. Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned to begin deportation proceedings against him once his sentence was completed.
But on November 9, 2020, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office obtained a warrant for Robert Roldan’s arrest for the abduction of Bethany Decker. The sheriff’s office returned him to Loudoun County from North Carolina upon the completion of his sentence there. As of November 10, 2020 Robert Roldan remains at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond.
They have a witness that could have information that could give investigators the evidence they need to find Bethany’s body and elevate the charges against Roldan to murder. They are still waiting on that witness to come forward to this day.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Bethany Decker please contact the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office at (703) 777-0445.
Bethany is a Caucasian female with brown hair and browns eyes. She is 4’11’’ tall and weights 130 pounds. She has a small tattoo on her left ankle and her ears are pierced.