Child Pornography Charges Added to Case Against Henderson Man Accused of Kidnapping 7-Year-Old Girl
Las Vegas, Nev. – The man accused of kidnapping a young girl and forcing a Las Vegas taxi cab driver to drive him and the girl to California, is now facing federal child pornography charges in addition to kidnapping and carjacking charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Matthew Charles Hayward, 28, of Henderson, is charged in a superseding indictment with kidnapping (two counts), carjacking, production of child pornography, and transporting child pornography, and is scheduled for an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Friday, April 22, 2011, at 8:30 a.m.
According to the public charging documents, on March 26, 2011, at about 11:30 a.m., a man telephoned the Henderson Police Department to report that his seven-year-old daughter was missing. The man stated that he thought his daughter may have been taken by Matthew Hayward, his girlfriend's cousin. At about 1:30 p.m., police officers located Hayward's broken-down vehicle on the southbound U.S. 95 freeway near Tropicana. At about 3:00 p.m. the Barstow California police department notified investigators that a taxi cab driver from Las Vegas had flagged down a passing motorist in Barstow, and said that he had been held at knifepoint by Hayward in Las Vegas and forced to drive Hayward and the young girl to California. The cab driver told police that he picked up Hayward and the girl at a gas station in Las Vegas, and that Hayward pulled out a knife and threatened his life and told him to drive toward California. The cab driver stated that in an isolated area near Barstow, Hayward kicked him and the young girl out of the cab and drove away with it. The cab was later discovered abandoned in Barstow. Authorities recovered from the vehicles and from a backpack used by Hayward, two knives and Hayward's cell phone, which contained a pornographic picture of a young girl taken several weeks prior to the kidnapping.
On March 27, 2011, Hayward was arrested on unrelated charges near Flagstaff, Arizona. Federal kidnapping and carjacking charges were filed against Hayward on April 1, 2011. At his initial appearance in federal court, Hayward was detained pending trial. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Henderson Police Department and the Southern Nevada Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Phillip N. Smith, Jr. and Nancy J. Koppe.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.