News and Press Releases

Henderson Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Kidnapping Seven-year Old Girl & Carjacking Taxi Cab

June 1, 2012

Las Vegas, Nev. – The man who kidnapped a young girl in March 2011 and used a knife to force a Las Vegas cab driver to drive him and the girl to California, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Matthew Charles Hayward, 29, of Henderson, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt. Hayward pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping, carjacking, and federal child pornography charges.

In the early morning hours of March 26, 2011, Hayward, who was living at his cousin's residence in Henderson, kidnapped the seven-year-old daughter of his cousin's boyfriend. Hayward drove to a Wal-Mart and then a DMV where he gagged the girl's mouth with a bandana. Hayward continued to drive around until his car broke down and he called a cab. At about 11:40 a.m., Hayward and the girl entered a cab at a gas station at Whitney Ranch Drive and Russell Road, and Hayward told the cab driver to take him to his disabled car. Hayward then pulled a knife on the cab driver and told him to drive him to California. Hayward also told the cab driver that he had just gotten out of prison, and had committed an armed robbery and a kidnapping. When they arrived in Barstow, California, Hayward told the cab driver to drive to an isolated area, where he kicked both the driver and little girl out of the cab and drove off with the cab and the cab driver's belongings. The cab was later discovered abandoned at a restaurant in Barstow. Hayward was arrested the next day near Flagstaff, Arizona, on unrelated charges. Hayward's cell phone was recovered in Barstow inside a backpack that he had dropped while fleeing from the police after he abandoned the cab. Authorities later discovered that Hayward's cell phone contained a pornographic picture of the girl's eight-year-old sister that Hayward had taken at his cousin's house in February 2011.

The case was investigated by the Henderson Police Department and the Southern Nevada Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Phillip N. Smith, Jr. and Nancy J. Koppe.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

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