A Henderson man faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday in the kidnapping of a 7-year-old girl.
Matthew Hayward, 29, appeared before Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt and admitted he kidnapped the girl March 26. He also pleaded guilty to related carjacking and child pornography charges.
According to Hayward's plea memorandum, the parties have agreed to recommend a 30-year prison term for the defendant at his June 1 sentencing hearing.
Hayward understands "that he cannot and will not receive a sentence of less than" 20 years on the kidnapping charge, according to the document.
The plea agreement also requires Hayward to register as a sex offender.
A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Hayward in April that accused him of kidnapping the Henderson girl and a Las Vegas cabdriver. It also accused him of producing child pornography Feb. 11, 2011, with an 8-year-old girl.
Hayward was arrested on unrelated charges near Flagstaff, Ariz., on March 27, a day after the 7-year-old girl was taken from the Allegro Apartments, 951 Las Palmas Entrada Ave. in Henderson.
The girl was taken to Barstow, Calif., in a hijacked taxicab before she and the cabdriver were released unharmed. Hayward held a knife to the cabdriver's side during the carjacking.
According to court records, a man called Henderson police March 26 to report his daughter missing. He suspected that Hayward, his girlfriend's cousin and roommate, had taken the child.
Authorities later discovered a pornographic picture of an 8-year-old girl on Hayward's cellphone, recovered from a backpack he had dropped in Barstow.
The case was investigated by Henderson police and the Southern Nevada Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.