LOS ANGELES (AP) - A fugitive charged with abducting and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Los Angeles girl was returned to the US Wednesday after being arrested in a Mexican village where he'd checked himself into a rehabilitation facility under a fake name, authorities said.
Tobias Summers, 30, was being brought to Los Angeles to face 37 felony charges, including numerous sexual assault counts, FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Delaney told a press conference.
Summers was a fugitive for nearly a month. Police Chief Charlie Beck credited a US$25,000(S$31,000) FBI reward that was highly publicized south of the border for a phone tip late on Tuesday that led to Summers' arrest Wednesday morning.
"Anybody in this city who thinks they can commit that kind of crime and remain free after doing so ... we'll hunt you, we'll find you, you cannot hide," Beck said.
Mexican authorities acted on the tip received by the FBI and tracked Summers to a drug and alcohol treatment facility in a tiny village on the coast between Tijuana and Ensenada, according to Alfredo Arenas, international liaison for the Baja California state police.
Summers checked into the facility under a false name, but police identified him from a Superman logo tattooed on his chest, Arenas said. He was arrested without a struggle.
"He was pretty scared," Arenas said. "We had him in custody very fast." The victim's parents discovered she was missing from her bedroom in her Northridge home in the early morning hours of March 27. She was found about 12 hours later wandering near a Starbucks several miles (kilometers) away.
Authorities soon arrested Daniel Martinez, 29, as a suspected accomplice and later revealed that Summers had been spotted in a video recording as he crossed the border into Mexico at Tecate, east of San Diego.
Authorities believe Summers broke into the girl's home planning to burglarize it but instead abducted her at knifepoint. They believe Martinez was waiting outside in a car the two used to flee with the girl.
Martinez soon abandoned the car and vanished, police have said, while Summers took the girl to a vacant home where he assaulted her. FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola wrote in an affidavit that the girl was taken to several locations and raped.
While he was a fugitive, Summers was charged by Los Angeles County prosecutors with kidnapping, burglary and nearly three dozen counts of sexual assault.
Summers was described as a transient with a criminal record including convictions for burglary and grand theft.
Four days after the abduction, LAPD detectives were told that Summers may be in the San Diego area. In an interview with a friend of Summers, detectives learned he had been thinking of going to Tijuana, Mexico.
Video showed Summers crossing the border into Tecate, Mexico, three days after the abduction.
"This entry into Mexico occurred within several hours of Summers being identified in the media as the person responsible for the kidnapping," a federal complaint stated.
Mexican authorities distributed "wanted" posters with Summers' picture and put police in the cities of Tecate, Ensenada and Rosarito Beach on alert.
Summers has a criminal record dating to 2002 that includes arrests for robbery, battery and grand theft auto.
Court records show Martinez has been convicted of burglary and grand theft. He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and burglary.