Man wanted in Bartholomew County child molestation case arrested after trying to cross Mexico border


Photo//Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. — Police in Bartholomew County finally have a suspect in custody in a 15-year old child molestation case.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office said 37-year-old Juan Carlos Avita is in custody in connection with the case dating back to 2005. The department said a warrant in the child molestation case was issued in 2006. He was also wanted for an outstanding possession of methamphetamine warrant from 2003.

When deputies tried to locate Avita, they were notified that he had fled to Mexico. 14 years later, they would get a break in the case.

Captain Dave Steinkoenig with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office was looking through booking photos when he saw a familiar face with a different name.

A man going by the name of Carlos Esparza Avita was captured while crossing the border into Texas. While he denied being Juan, the fingerprints and photos identified him as so.

“Sometimes people evade capture for many years”, said Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Major Chris Lane.   “But that doesn’t mean that deputies don’t remember and continue looking for them – just as in this case.”  “Captain Steinkoenig has looked at thousands of photographs but this time, there was his suspect from 14 years ago”, added Lane.

Avitas was taken into custody on Halloween. As of the time of this report, he was being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of child molestation and possession of methamphetamine.

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