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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 17, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Child sex-abuse suspect ‘missing’ for 15 years found in Montana

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — A man suspected of faking his death in a fishing accident 15 years ago to avoid a trial on child sex-abuse charges has been arrested, the Oregon State Police said Friday.

Daniel Clement Chafe, 55, was taken into custody Wednesday in Bozeman, Mont., where he had been living under a different name, Lt. Gregg Hastings said.

Back in 1990s, Chafe was known in Roseburg, Ore., as Stryder Styafyr. The FBI said the married man was recruiting girls between of the ages of 14 and 16 to form what he dubbed the “Cobalt Clan.”

“His reported goal was to have sex with these young girls in order to produce a large number of children over which he could rule,” according to the FBI’s most-wanted poster.

Police arrested him on charges of rape, sodomy and sex abuse of two teenage girls, and said they had identified other victims.

In 1998 — 10 days before his scheduled trial in Roseburg — a friend with whom he had gone fishing in Washington state told authorities that Chafe fell overboard and was missing.

A search failed to find him, and investigators considered him a fugitive. He became the subject of several television shows, including “America’s Most Wanted,” and was in consideration for the FBI’s Top 10 list, Hastings said.

Chafe remains in a Montana jail pending extradition to Roseburg, where he faces six counts of third-degree rape, five counts of third-degree sexual abuse and seven counts of third-degree sodomy.

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