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Joshua Hicks

Joshua Hicks, center, makes his initial appearance Friday afternoon in Natrona County Circuit Court. Hicks is accused of abducting a child from outside a Casper apartment building on Wednesday. 

A man arrested last week on suspicion of sexually abusing a child told a police detective that he spotted the girl — no older than 5 — playing outside and pulled her in his truck where he abused her, according to documents filed by prosecutors in the case.

Joshua T. Hicks, 32, told the detective that he has twice before masturbated in front of young children, according to the documents.

He faces three charges in the case: one count each of aggravated kidnapping, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual-abuse of a minor. A conviction on the kidnapping charge can be punishable by up to life in prison.

The documents, which prosecutors filed Friday, give the most comprehensive view yet of a criminal case that has been in the public eye since Wednesday, when police announced they were looking for a GMC pickup thought to be involved in a child abduction.

Police had Hicks in custody by early Thursday morning and announced as much by the same afternoon. On Friday afternoon, prosecutors charged him with the three felonies.

The documents filed in support of those charges state that police were called to the girl’s home after Hicks had returned her. The girl told her mother that a man in a black truck had taken her away, according to the documents. Surveillance video provided an image of the man’s truck, and by 4:30 a.m. Thursday, police had found the truck and Hicks.

In the intervening hours, the girl told an investigator that a “mean man” had put her in his truck and told her to take off her clothes, the documents state. The girl was not able to describe the alleged physical abuse except to say Hicks touched her on her arm, according to the documents.

After the arrest, Hicks told a detective that he had seen on Facebook that police were looking for a truck similar to his, the documents state. He said he did not contact police because he had not done anything wrong, according to the documents.

However, he later told the detective that he had messed up and would lose his family, the documents state. He then said he had been sexually attracted to children for more than a decade, according to the documents.

Hicks said he stopped his truck near the girl’s home and waved to her, the documents state. When she came near his truck, he grabbed her and put her in the vehicle, the documents state he told police. He told the detective that he masturbated in front of the child and then put her hand on his genitals, according to the documents.

Hicks told the detective that he then returned the girl to near her apartment complex, the documents state. He said he had twice before lured children to his vehicle and masturbated in front of them, the documents state.

A judge last week ordered Hicks held on a half-million dollar cash-only bond. He has not yet had an opportunity to enter pleas to the charges.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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