Fugitive with township ties captured

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A 14-month investigation involving Niles Township Police officers and several other law enforcement agencies across the country ended with the arrest of a man in Los Angeles on Monday.
Jorge Duran, wanted in Nassau County, New York, on a two-count sexual child abuse warrant, and charged with using a false identity in Michigan, was arrested when the U.S. Marshal Service in the Los Angeles area raided the home where Duran was currently staying, said Chief John Street, Niles Township Police, in a press release issued on Tuesday.
Duran has been on the run since July 16, 2002, when he fled from the Berrien County Courthouse while awaiting a custody hearing involving his three-year-old daughter, who had been allegedly neglected by her mother.
The couple lived in Niles Township last summer when a neighbor living close to the couple alerted police that the three-year-old was trapped in a bedroom from which she was unable to exit.
Duran fled the hearing upon learning that law enforcement agents were aware of his use of a false identity and were getting ready to apprehend him at the courthouse.
Street began the initial investigation of Duran, who was using the identity of David Pineda -- an Ohio man who had his identity stolen in 1995.
Over the last 14 months, Street said he has traced Duran all over the country and into Mexico as Duran has spent traveler's checks.
Street said law enforcement agencies were often just one step behind Duran and were close to finding the fugitive when he stayed in a small town just outside of the well-known tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Street said Duran probably chose the small town because of the many tourists visiting the area, which made it easy for him to remain unnoticed.
Having lived with the investigation for more than a year, Street was glad, but surprised to learn of Duran's arrest.
Street, however, feels sorry for the Ohio man who has had to deal with identity theft, which is becoming an increasing problem.
He said the real Pineda's credit record has been ruined. "Duran has made Pineda's life a living hell," Street said.
Street said the Nassau County Police have started extraction on Duran, who will face the sexual abuse charges when he returns to New York.
When he has completed his sentence in New York, Duran will be brought back to Michigan where he will face charges of using a false identity, Street said.
Street, on behalf of the law enforcement agencies that have been involved with the investigation, is glad that Duran, an alleged child molester, is off the streets because they (child molesters) are "the worst kind."