In October 2007, a law enforcement alert to Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, describing sexual assault cases in Leitchfield and Wheeling, West Virginia led to the identification of Joshua Michael Ridings, 28, of Owensboro.
Wheeling Police Chief Kevin Gessler said Ridings was charged with crossing a state line with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who had not attained the age of 12 years old.
The FBI laboratory advised Wheeling Police Department on December 20 that Ridings' DNA was an exact match to the DNA submitted from the Wheeling area crime scene.
Pittsburgh Division FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Kevin Deegan said the FBI Laboratory advised that DNA submitted from the Wheeling area crime scene was a match to DNA submitted from an August 2006 sexual assault crime scene in Leitchfield, Kentucky.
Previous Leitchfield Police Department Detective and Public Information Officer Jarrod Mudd explained the details of the Leitchfield case.
“The woman was having a yard sale on Leavette Street,” said Mudd. “The suspect was wearing only brown leather work boots. He entered the victim's home through the back door and sexually assaulted her.”
A similar incident occurred a year later in Wheeling, West Virginia. On February 20, 2007 an 11 year-old girl was abducted.
“This time the suspect was naked except for a pair of socks,” replied Mudd. “He approached the girl and asked for directions. He grabbed the victim and forced her into his vehicle.”
The girl was transported to St. Clairsville, Ohio where she was then sexually assaulted outdoors in subfreezing weather.
The suspect then released her in Bridgeport, Ohio 40 minutes later.
Ridings had a similar barbed wire tattoo to that of the one described by the Kentucky victim.
At press time Ridings was being held in the Warrick County Detention Center in Indiana.