Soldier Questioned After Pregnant Wife Disappears

Bethany Decker reported missing days after husband deploys to Afghanistan.

March 3, 2011, 2:12 PM

March 3, 2011— -- Police in Virginia have questioned a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan about the mysterious disappearance of his pregnant wife just days after the soldier returned to the battlefield.

"We've been in contact with him," said Vincent DiBenedetto, spokesman for the Loudoun Sheriff's Office in Virginia. He said investigators had reached the young woman's husband, Pvt. Emile Decker, by phone.

"We're in constant contact with the Army's Criminal Investigation Division," he said.

Cops, for now, are treating Bethany Decker's disappearance as a missing person case and not a crime. They are not identifying anyone as a suspect in an effort to encourage the public to keep looking for the missing college student and mother of one.

"We contacted Emile because he's her husband and was with her in late January," said DiBenedetto. "It's premature to identify a suspect. Anyone who to spoke to her in the last month, we consider a person of interest."

Bethany Decker, 21, is five months pregnant and the mother of a 17-month-old son. A student at George Mason University, she was last seen Jan. 29 when her husband was still home on leave.

She has not used her credit cards or accessed Internet accounts since that day, said DiBenedetto.

After not hearing from Bethany for days, her grandparents called police on Feb. 19 after stopping by her apartment and finding her car parked in the lot, but no sign of the young mother.

While in school, Bethany Decker often left her son with her mother Kim Nelson. The infant had been with staying with his grandmother since late January.

Nelson told reporters that it was not uncommon for Bethany to go a few days without calling her because she was studying.

She said Bethany typically saw Emile off before a deployment, and did not know why she did not accompany him to the airport in February.

"It's so hard not knowing anything and being able to reach her," Nelson told reporters Wednesday. "It's quite disturbing. I never imagined that today I'd be here in front of all these people, you know reaching out and saying, 'Does anyone know where my daughter is?'"

Soldier in Afghanistan Questioned About His Pregnant Wife's Disappearance

Police said they planned to interview Emile Decker again by video conference and were working to bring him back to the U.S. for questioning.

Nelson said Pvt. Decker wanted to return home and help find his missing wife

"He feels quite helpless being so far away," Nelson said.

Police are calling on the public to report any information that could lead to finding Bethany Decker. Investigators riding all-terrain vehicles and using sniffer dogs have "more than once" combed the wooded areas near her home, police said.

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