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Madelia man charged with felony

FAIRMONT — A Madelia man is facing a felony charge in Martin County.

Austin David Gulden, 19, has been charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

According to the complaint:

At 2:33 a.m. June 28, Fairmont police were notified that a 15-year-old female had disappeared from her home in Fairmont.

At 3:01 a.m., while an officer was speaking to a relative of the girl, the girl returned home. The girl gave the officer various stories about where she had been and what had happened, including having sexual relations with a man in a local park. The girl was unsure of the person’s name or identity.

After further investigation, police officers were able to identify Gulden as a suspect.

On July 16, an officer contacted Gulden, who agreed to come to the Martin County Law Enforcement Center to be interviewed. Gulden said he understood his rights and agreed to answer questions.

Gulden said he came to Fairmont on June 28 to meet with the girl. He had not met her prior. The girl had been communicating with him through social media, sending him explicit photos of herself. He clarified that he and the girl had sent explicit pictures of themselves to each other.

He said the girl told him she was almost 16, and he said they went to a park in Fairmont and had sexual relations. Gulden was 19 at the time, but less than 48 months older than the girl.

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