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February 28, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Fugitive sex offender with Washington ties captured in Virginia

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Eric Hartwell

The Associated Press

DENVER — A child rapist who became the subject of a nationwide manhunt last week after he sliced off his GPS monitor and disappeared from Denver was arrested Friday, U.S. marshals said.

Eric Hartwell, 51, was taken into custody in Norfolk, Va., at a motel on Military Highway, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Hartwell refused to surrender and officers broke down the door to arrest him, the department said.

Hartwell was serving a three-year sentence for refusing to register as a sex offender in Colorado.

He previously served time for failing to register in Washington and cut off his ankle bracelet a week after being paroled there in 2009. He was later captured in Carrollton, Texas, and sentenced to five years in federal prison in 2010 for failing to register.

He was arrested in Clear Creek County, in the mountains west of Denver, the following year. It wasn’t immediately clear how Hartwell escaped from authorities in Texas and ended up in Colorado, and the U.S. Marshals Service did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.

“We have been relentlessly pursuing Hartwell, day and night, as he fled across the country,” Chief Deputy Marshal Kenneth Deal said.  “When a dangerous predator is on the loose, we don’t stop.”

On Thursday, witnesses reported seeing Hartwell in Cheney, Spokane County, a sighting the Marshals Service said turned out to be false. Eastern Washington University sent a text alert to students Thursday after Hartwell reportedly was seen in town and on campus.

Hartwell has previous arrests in Washington for child rape in 1991 in Snohomish County and attempting to sexually assault a hitchhiker in 1996 in Skagit County.

0 Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Child rape, Department of Justice, fugitive

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