Bellingham man accused of kidnapping 5-year-old girl released on bail

BELLINGHAM-- Police arrested Matthew B. Pemberton, 35, after he allegedly kidnapped a 5-year-old girl Saturday afternoon. He was released on bail Sunday.

Around 2:05 p.m. someone called 911 reporting the girl had gone missing from the O'Donnell's Bellingham Flea Market in the 400 block of East Champion Street. The caller told the dispatcher that the mother was out looking for the girl and believed a man who frequents the flea market named "Matthew" was last seen with the girl.

Less than five minutes later, and while officers were rushing to the scene, the witness told the dispatcher that the suspect was back at the market and the child was in his car. Officers contacted Pemberton and located the child, who was unharmed.

Pemberton told the officer he offered candy and a ride to the park to the child. He left with the girl, but returned after forgetting his cell phone. The girl's parent was working at the flea market at the time of the incident.

Pemberton was booked into the Whatcom County jail for kidnapping and luring. A search warrant for the his car was been requested, and a search warrant for his home was served on Sunday where investigators seized several computers.

Officials at the Whatcom County Jail said a judge set Pemberton's bail at $100,000, which he posted Sunday. He is scheduled to appear in court June 21.

In 2010, Pemberton was charged with possession of child pornography. Police targeted him after he ordered a pornographic DVD online; once they searched his home they found other CDs and DVDs with images and videos of children and adults engaged in sexual activity. According to the Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office, Pemberton served 10 days in jail as part of a plea deal.