A New York man, Walter Leon Hill, 44, appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Wednesday, September 11, to hear charges of aggravated promotion of prostitution and sexual abuse of children, both felonies.

According to court records, on March 26, 2013, Hill allegedly placed an ad in an online site called Backpage.com, in which a juvenile female appeared in lingerie posing in a sexually provocative way. Missoula Police Detective Chris Shermer answered the ad and agreed to meet the female at a local motel for a sexual encounter that was to cost $300. Upon arrival, Shermer identified himself as a police officer, and the girl admitted she was only 17 years-old.

The girl took Shermer and other officers to an apartment leased by Hill, where they seized a laptop computer and lingerie that matched what was in the Backpage.com ad. Shermer contacted Hill by phone, and he refused to come in to be interviewed, claiming that he was afraid to be sent back to prison.

A bench warrant was issued in the amount of $100,000 for Hill's arrest, and he was apprehended in New York, extradited to Montana and taken to the Missoula County Jail.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks said that Hill fled Montana when he found out that the juvenile girl had brought police to his apartment.

"He was arrested in the state of New York based on a warrant issued here in Missoula in March," Marks said. "They were finally able to locate him and arrested him there. He went through the extradition process and was returned to Missoula to face charges."

During the justice court appearance, Marks explained why Hill's bail should remain at $100,000.

"It's my understanding that Mr. Hill was actually here in Missoula when police started their investigation, but he fled the state to avoid law enforcement," Marks said. "He has no local ties to the community, and he has a prior history of felonies here, so $100,000 bail is appropriate."

Judge John Odlin agreed, and continued Hill's bail at $100,000. Hill remains in the Missoula County Jail, his next court appearance is set for late September.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks:


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