Mass. fugitive accused of child rape captured in Conn.

Mass. fugitive accused of child rape captured in Conn.


Authorities arrested Leon Mejia-Vicente of New Bedford after he allegedly kidnapped his kids and fled the state.

A Guatemalan man who has been living in Massachusetts and is accused of child sexual assault was captured in Willimantic, Connecticut, Friday, nine days after he went on the run with his children, according to a statement from the Bristol County district attorney’s Office.

Investigators say Leon Mejia-Vicente, 46, of New Bedford, kidnapped his two kids then fled Massachusetts.

He had been on the run since last week, and his kids, aged 17 and 5, were considered endangered, according to the statement.

Agents from the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Mejia-Vicente without incident around 3 p.m. Friday, along with help from Willimantic police as well as Massachusetts detectives. 

The two kids were unharmed and placed in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Child and Family, according to officials.

Investigators say they were granted a warrant for Meija-Vincente’s arrest on June 8 for child rape and assault charges, and he fled with the kids shortly after. Investigators described him as a “violent fugitive” and asked for the public’s assistance tracking him down.

Meija-Vincente, a Guatemalan citizen, had been living on Madeira Avenue in New Bedford when the warrant was issued. 

“This case highlights the importance of quick action by various agencies working together to locate the fugitive and the missing children,” Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn said in the statement. “When a child goes missing the early stages of the investigation are critical to safely locating them. I am grateful for the cooperation of the Central American community in New Bedford, that was critical to apprehending the suspect.”

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