Details Released in Casper Child Abduction, Sex Assault Investigation
The Casper man accused of abducting a young girl last week told detectives that he fantasizes about sexually abusing young children and was previously caught downloading child pornography, court documents state.
Joshua T. Hicks is charged with aggravated kidnapping, second-degree sexual abuse and third-degree sexual abuse. He could face 20 years to life in prison if convicted of all counts.
Casper police say a child born in 2014 was abducted at 10:37 a.m. Wednesday while she was playing outside in the area of SW Wyoming Boulevard and South Coffman Avenue. She was returned to an area near her home roughly 13 minutes after being taken.
Police notified the public Wednesday afternoon and urged people to be on the lookout for a black GMC pickup truck seen on surveillance video. The identity of the suspect was not known by authorities at that point.
In an affidavit of probable cause filed in Natrona County Circuit Court on Friday and made available Monday morning, police say the suspect vehicle was located at roughly 4:30 a.m., parked in a driveway at an undisclosed address. About an hour later, officers saw the truck leave the driveway and fail to stop at a stop sign.
Hicks, who had been driving the truck, was taken to the police department for questioning. There, he said he owns a trucking company and gave detectives some details about his personal life.
After further inquiry, Hicks began to cry and said he was going to lose his "kids, wife and company." He allegedly admitted that he abducted the victim and drove her around for roughly 10 minutes.
"Hicks became very emotional, cried and said that he meant the girl no harm, but that he had a problem with being sexually aroused by looking at young girls," the affidavit states. "Hicks said that he intended to take [the victim]'s clothes off to see what she looked like naked."
Hicks, according to the affidavit, told detectives that he dropped his own children off at the Casper Recreation Center that morning and was on his way home when he saw the victim playing on the sidewalk near SW Wyoming Boulevard and Coffman. He turned around, parked and started to watch her.
"Hicks said that he pretended to be 'fidgeting' inside the cab of his truck to make it appear that he was doing something legitimate, when in reality, his intent was to watch [the victim] and wait for an opportunity to grab her," the affidavit states.
Hicks saw that the victim's clothing did not cover her entirely, and he became aroused. Then, he waited.
The victim went inside the building, then returned wearing what she described to a forensic interviewer as a zip-up "puppy dog" costume. Hicks waved the girl over, grabbed her and put her into the back seat of his pickup truck.
Hicks drove his truck north on Coffman, cut through the parking lot by the Sunrise bowling alley and then went north on Poplar. While driving, he exposed himself in front of the girl and forced her to touch his genitals for "about three seconds."
The victim told investigators that Hicks "helped" to remove her clothing.
"Due to the fact that [the victim] is young, she resorts back to acting as if she were a kitten. She does this as a coping mechanism when she is under stress," the affidavit reads.
According to the affidavit, Hicks further stated to detectives that he drove to the area of the recycling bins near Rocky Mountain Discount Sports on CY Avenue.
"When asked what was his intent by abducting [the victim], Hicks said that he wanted to take all of her clothes off, possibly lay her down on the seat and masturbate while she watched him," the affidavit states. "Hicks said that he fantasies about having sex and oral sex with young girls, to include 5 and 6 year old girls."
Instead, Hicks drove south on Poplar, back toward where he had abducted the girl. While driving, he touched himself in front of the girl.
Hicks then returned the girl to the area where from which he took her, he told detectives. He said that later Wednesday, once he saw a photo of his truck released by the police department, he knew he would be caught.
He removed the toolbox from the bed off the truck and changed the location of his rim caps in order to alter the appearance of his vehicle, he said.
When he was roughly 20 years old, Hicks said he was caught downloading child pornography on a computer which belonged to his grandparents. He has been sexually aroused by children ever since, he allegedly told detectives.
"Hicks admitted that over the course of the last six years, he frequently, over thirty separate occasions, watched young juvenile girls play on playgrounds at schools, in their yards and anywhere he could find them," the affidavit states. "On occasion, he would masturbate while watching the girls, and on two separate occasions, Hicks said that he was able to call girls who were five or six years old over to his truck and masturbate in their presence."
Regarding his alleged victim Wednesday, Hicks said he had never met the girl before, but "he had just found her at random and saw the opportunity."
"Hicks kept condoms on the steering console of his truck in order to be ready in case he finds a place where he can masturbate to young girls playing," the affidavit states.
Hicks remains in custody on $500,000 cash-only bond. He is prohibited from having contact with the alleged victim or family members.