Man arrested in kidnapping of 5-year-old Bellingham girl

Updated:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A 35-year-old man was arrested in the kidnapping of a 5-year-old Bellingham girl Saturday afternoon.

Police said that at about 2:05 p.m., a caller to 911 reported that a 5-year-old girl disappeared moments after she was seen with a man at the flea market in the 400 block of East Champion Street in Bellingham.

The caller told the dispatcher that the girl’s mother, who worked at the flea market, was searching for the child and believed that a man named Matthew, who frequents the flea market, was last seen with the girl.

 Less than five minutes later, as officers were heading to the scene, the witness told the dispatcher that the man, later identified as Matthew B. Pemberton, returned to the flea market with the child in his car.

 Officers found the girl and Pemberton, who told them he offered the girl candy and a ride to the park, but returned to the flea market after forgetting his cellphone.

Police said there was no indication the girl was hurt.

Pemberton was booked into the Whatcom County Jail on charges of second-degree kidnapping and luring.

A search warrant was served at Pemberton’s home on Sunday where several computers were seized.  A search warrant for his car has also been requested.