Virginia child predator arrested in Los Angeles after 18 years on the run

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A child predator that had escaped authorities in Virginia for 18 years was arrested Tuesday at a Los Angeles homeless shelter.

William Branson Martin was convicted of sexually assaulting three female relatives under the age of 10 that he was babysitting in Isle of Wight in 1989. One of the girls suffered vaginal trauma, according to the US Marshals.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended, along with 20 years of probation.

In February 2000, after serving 10 years in prison, Martin disappeared and escaped law enforcement and his probation obligations for 18 years.

William Branson Martin

He was wanted for absconding from probation stemming from the 1989 conviction.

That is, until he made what the US Marshals call a mistake, that led them to find Martin living in a homeless shelter all the way across the country in Los Angeles, California. US Marshals would not specify what that mistake was.

“After years of extensive investigations by the Virginia Department of Corrections and United States Marshals, information was eventually generated that Martin had been living in a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, California,” said a U.S. Marshal spokesperson.

Martin was arrested without incident in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 3 by the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles.

“The apprehension of this fugitive is a direct result of the perseverance of our investigators and interagency cooperation that exists on our fugitive task forces,” said U.S. Marshal Robert Mathieson.

Martin is currently awaiting extradition back to Virginia.

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