Joshua Winters makes his initial appearance Wednesday in Natrona County Circuit Court. Winters is accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old boy from a Casper bowling alley and sexually assaulting the child.

Jenna VonHofe, Star-Tribune

A man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old Casper boy has no prior convictions on his record for sex-related crimes, a police official said Friday.

Joshua Winters has had prior contact with law enforcement, but “nothing like this,” said Casper police Sgt. Mike Ogden.

Authorities charged Winters, 33, on Wednesday after the boy was discovered Monday evening more than an hour after going missing from El Mark-O bowling alley. The boy, who was found near the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds, told police Winters had sexually assaulted him. Winters faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual abuse of a minor.

Winters had come to Casper to work as a food vendor at the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo, court documents show. He worked for a man who contracted with Crabtree Amusements, the company that puts on the carnival at the fair. A woman who works for Crabtree said Thursday that Winters went through a background check in Austin, Texas, and did not have a criminal record.

“We are tracking where he’s been,” Ogden said.

A website for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office in Boise, Idaho, shows Winters has an active warrant for failure to appear. That warrant stems from an arrest for misdemeanor battery, Ogden said. Idaho officials do not wish to extradite Winters on the warrant, he said.

Winters is expected to appear in the upcoming weeks in Natrona County Circuit Court for his preliminary hearing. During that hearing a judge will decide if there is probable cause for the case to proceed to trial.

Follow crime and courts reporter Lillian Schrock on Twitter @lillieschrock.


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