Search continues for missing Ashburn woman

Bethany Anne Decker, 21, has been missing since late January.
Bethany Anne Decker, 21, has been missing since late January.
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By Caitlin Gibson
Sunday, March 6, 2011

Loudoun County sheriff's deputies last week searched the home of the last person to see Bethany Anne Decker, 21, a pregnant Ashburn woman missing for more than a month, authorities said.

The sheriff's office declined to detail the outcome of the search Tuesday of the Centreville home where the man, described in court papers as Decker's current boyfriend, lives with his mother.

The search warrant affidavit indicated that investigators were looking for evidence that might help locate Decker. The results of the search were not available Friday at the Fairfax County Courthouse.

The Centreville man, the father of Decker's unborn child, saw Decker on Jan. 29, the court papers say. He moved out of Decker's Ashburn apartment in February, police said, and made conflicting reports to police about when he first noticed Decker's car parked outside her apartment, according to the affidavit.

Decker also has a 17-month-old son with her husband, U.S. Army Pvt. Emile Decker, who is serving in Afghanistan.

Both men have been interviewed by detectives and are cooperating in the investigation, said Vincent DiBenedetto, a Loudoun sheriff's spokesman.

Investigators said Friday that they have not uncovered signs of foul play and have not identified a suspect or a person of interest in the case.

Loudoun sheriff's investigators held a news conference Wednesday with Decker's family members to step up public outreach efforts in the hope that she will be found. Despite questioning regarding the status of Decker's marriage and whether Emile Decker was the father of Decker's unborn child, investigators did not mention any of the details in the search warrant affidavit filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court the day before.

An attorney for Decker's family declined to comment Friday.

"The Nelsons and the Bayleses are cooperating with the police fully," Peter Burns said. "The best way to help Bethany is to help the police."

Decker, a full-time student at George Mason University who is thought to be about five months pregnant, was reported missing by family members Feb. 19, weeks after she was last seen, according to authorities.

Sheriff's investigators said that Decker was reported missing after her family tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to contact her. Initially, family members thought Decker was busy with school and a part-time job as a waitress, said Kimberly Nelson, Decker's mother.

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