A health insurance company analyst admitted Thursday that he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl after DNA evidence and new fingerprint technology helped solve the 1999 crime.
Timothy D. Nelson Jr., 50, pleaded guilty in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, federal courthouse and agreed to a deal that will likely result in a 30-year sentence.
Nelson admitted he abducted the girl in Cairnbrook, Pennsylvania, took her to West Virginia and assaulted her before releasing her.
His lawyer, Lyle Dresbold, said Nelson feels remorse and plans to express that when he is sentenced in late August.
“He entered the guilty plea today, in part, to spare the victim and her family any further trauma,” Dresbold said after the plea hearing. “Mr. Nelson has taken responsibility for his actions and is taking this first step in showing contrition and the remorse that he has been feeling for a long time.”
FBI agent Robert Jones said at a news conference after the hearing that the child was able to help investigators recover a discarded paper bag and napkins that eventually linked Nelson, of Cumberland, Maryland, to the crime.
Jones said investigators ran the partial latent fingerprints through the FBI’s Next Generation Identification biometric database last fall, and they matched Nelson’s prints.
Jones said Nelson later confessed.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said that Nelson is likely to spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
“We brought Timothy Nelson Jr. to justice,” Brady said after the hearing. “And through that we were able to bring some measure of closure and finality — and yes, freedom — to this courageous young woman.”