MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Yellville man took a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to enticing a minor to live with him in a cave.
Isaac Melder, 41, pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Court documents say that on May 12, 2022, the victim, a 14-year-old girl, failed to return home after school and was reported missing in Mountain Home.
Officers began looking for the victim and identified Melder as a suspect in her disappearance.
The documents say that officers quickly located a stash of food, clothing, lingerie and other items near property belonging to Melder’s family.
The victim’s mother turned in the victim’s Xbox gaming console four days after she went missing. Officers discovered messages on the console between the victim and Melder, including various plans to run away and live together in a cave.
The two reportedly referred to each other as “husband and wife” and discussed sexual activities they planned to engage in.
The victim was located approximately six weeks after she went missing. She was found in a makeshift cave in rural Marion County.
Melder is awaiting his sentencing and is currently being held in the Washington County Detention Center. Court documents say that the maximum penalty Melder could face is life in prison, while the mandatory minimum is 10 years.