Fort Worth kidnapping suspect had previous charges dismissed in Smith County

Fort Worth kidnapping suspect had previous charges dismissed in Smith County
Michael Webb, 51

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Fort Worth man charged with kidnapping an 8-year-old girl, previously had felony charges dismissed in Smith County.

Court records show Michael Webb was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sexual assault in June 2018.

Smith County Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance filed a motion to dismiss those charges.

According to court documents, the alleged victim moved to Arizona, could not be reached and filed an affidavit of non-prosecution. He said the alleged victim also had felony warrants out for her arrest.

“At that point, we had an uncooperative victim, which we do have often and we still prosecute, but this one who also had active warrants was in another state. We had filed three different continuances with the court to find this victim,” Vance said.

Vance said after numerous attempts to find the alleged victim failed, he knew he could be forced to take the case to trial without a victim.

“On a case like this of this nature, I believe not having that victim present factual as well as some legal problems. I didn’t believe that we could get a conviction without her," he said.

Court documents also show the prosecution believed there was sufficient probable cause to charge Webb, but a conviction would be unlikely without the victim’s cooperation.

"I don’t have any regrets about what I felt like I had to do at the moment, but I would be lying to say that when I found out that he’d gone out and done something like this that involved a child, it made me sick. That’s one of your greatest fears as a prosecutor,” Vance said. “No regrets about the decision that I felt like I had to make, but personally, it would be silly to think that I don’t feel that responsible and I’d tell the family the same thing.”

The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning Webb could still be prosecuted.

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