Upshur Co. man arrested after attempting to solicit a 15-year-old girl

Crime
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An Upshur County man is facing multiple charges after attempting to solicit a 15-year-old girl on Craigslist.

On Sunday, February 17, troopers with the West Virginia State Police Department said Donald Burnside, 51, of French Creek posted an ad on Craigslist under the missed connections section. Troopers said Burnside’s ad stated, “Why can’t a guy get a single or married woman to have fun with?”

Troopers said a female minor, believed to be 15 years of age, answered the ad. Burnside and the girl communicated back and forth through email and text messages between February 17 and February 22 in reference to meeting in Doddridge County.

During these conversations, Burnside identified himself as 51 years old and the girl identified herself as 15 years old, according to court documents. Troopers said Burnside and the girl planned to meet the next Saturday night, February 23 at a gas station on Snowbird Road in Doddridge County. Burnside told the girl he would pick her up Saturday night and bring her back Sunday morning, according to court documents.

Troopers said Burnside and the girl continued communicating by email and texts, sending pictures of themselves and talking about the meeting. More than five of the texts and emails are classified as obscene material in WV Code, troopers said. 

Burnside messaged the victim on February 18, saying he wanted to meet her sooner, and asked to meet her Friday night, according to State Police. The area to meet was changed, according to troopers, and Burnside told the girl he would pick her up at the Doddridge County High School football field on Friday at 6:30 and have her back by 4. More than two of the texts sent between Burnside and the girl around this time are classified as obscene material in WV Code, according to troopers.

Burnside sent the girl a message on February 20 saying he would tell her what vehicle he was driving to pick her up and sent her another message that he would take her to his house “for a night of fun.” One of the texts that were sent on February 20 are classified as obscene material in WV Code, troopers said.

Burnside arrived at the football field and sent a message to the girl saying he was parked behind the bleachers, according to court documents. Troopers then drove to the football field and located Burnside in a white vehicle and arrested him for attempting to meet a female minor.

Burnside has been charged with six counts of soliciting a minor via a computer and six counts of use of obscene matter with intent to solicit a minor.

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