Bellingham man accused of kidnapping girl, 5

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 17, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man has been arrested on suspicion of briefly kidnapping a 5-year-old girl on Saturday, June 15.

Police believe the girl went with Matthew Barclay Pemberton, 35, because he offered her candy and a trip to the park.

The girl's mother lost sight of her at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bellingham Flea Market, 405 E. Champion St. A witness called 911 saying the girl was last seen with a man named "Matthew," a frequent customer of the market.

Officers were en route when witnesses saw Pemberton driving back to the scene with the child. It didn't appear she had been harmed. Pemberton claimed he came back because he forgot his cellphone, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young.

Pemberton was booked into Whatcom County Jail for alleged child luring and second-degree kidnapping. Police obtained a warrant to search his home but need more warrants to search his car and several computers they seized.

He posted $100,000 bail and was released Sunday afternoon.

Court records show Pemberton had been charged in March 2010 with ordering a DVD of child pornography from Belgium. He told federal agents that a friend - whom he named - bought the package but had since moved to Virginia.

Pemberton later confessed to ordering the DVD but struck a deal with county prosecutors to have the child porn charges dropped. He pleaded guilty to obstructing law enforcement, underwent sexual deviancy treatment and agreed to stay out of trouble for three years. Pemberton served 10 days in jail.

Prosecutors finally dropped the charges last month.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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