NEOSHO, Mo. — A judge this week dismissed a child pornography charge that a rural Neosho man was facing when the Newton County prosecutor's office was unable to prove the existence of the illicit material in court.

Adam Bolton, 50, had a preliminary hearing Monday in Newton County Circuit Court on a charge of possession of child pornography.

Associate Judge Christine Rhoades dismissed the charge when the state could not produce the offending material, which a woman had reported seeing on Bolton's cellphone in May of last year. A probable-cause affidavit states that the woman told a Newton County sheriff's investigator that she was going through Bolton's phone when she came upon nude pictures of an underage girl she knew.

The affidavit states she deleted the images and that she exchanged text messages with the defendant in which he acknowledged being "sick" and in need of "help." The document states she asked the girl about the photos and that the girl said she was unaware that any such pictures had been taken.

According to the affidavit, the investigator spoke with Bolton, who explained that he was "in a down time of his life" and had been drinking when he entered the girl's bedroom while the girl was asleep and took some pictures of her with his phone.

Recommended for you