A man who faked his own death to avoid prosecution for possession of child sex abuse images has been arrested after spending six years living “off grid," say police.
Jacob Greer of Des Moines, Iowa, was arrested by US customs enforcement officers in April 2016 on suspicion of receipt and possession of child pornography.
While he was awaiting trial, Greer was released under pretrial supervision and fitted with an ankle monitor. He moved with his grandmother, but a month later officials received an alert that the ankle monitor had been removed.
A police search turned up Greer’s abandoned vehicle, with a “suicide note” inside – but there was no sign of the fugitive.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for the missing man later that day.
A few weeks later, it emerged that Greer had borrowed $1,000 from a friend and bought another car, in which it is believed he made his escape to Montana.
According to a statement from the US Marshals Service, Greer had bought a bow, arrows and other survival gear and set out to live off the land.
Mike Powell, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Iowa, told the New York Times that Greer was living “off the grid” in the wilderness for two months after making his escape, adding “after that, we think he probably travelled to the state of Washington.”
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For the next four to five years, says Powell, Greer was living in homeless shelters “and taking odd jobs when he could.”
He was finally apprehended by US Marshalls at a residence in Spanaway, Washington. Police believe he had been living there for up to a year.
U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Iowa Ted Kamatchus said Greer's capture was "a testament to the tenacity of Deputy U.S. Marshals and our investigative partners."
"Even though the case went cold, they would not quit," he said.
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