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Thai Police Arrest Texas Child Sex Abuse Suspect


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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090108/ap_on_...and_us_fugitive

BANGKOK, Thailand – An American man wanted in Texas on child sex abuse charges was arrested Thursday in Thailand and could be sent to the U.S. within days, the district attorney's office in Houston said.

Confirming Thai reports, the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office said it was "aware" that Darren Ray Castleberry, 41, had been arrested in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Scott Durfee, a spokesman for the office, told The Associated Press by phone from Houston that the process was already under way to extradite Castleberry to the United States, where he faces charges that could have him imprisoned for life.

"He could be on American soil as quickly as two days from now," said Durfee. who added that the prosecutor handling the case was well-versed in bringing back suspects from overseas and was ready to act "aggressively" on the matter.

Extradition can be a lengthy legal process in Thai courts, but the suspect can instead agree to be sent back or may simply be expelled by Thai authorities.

Castleberry is sought on four charges of aggravated sexual assault against a child, each of which carries a penalty of not less than five years and up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine, said Durfee. The charge applies to sexual assault on a child younger than 14 years of age.

He also faces two charges of sexual assault on a child between the ages of 14 and 17, for which the penalty is not less than two years and up to 20 years in prison, Durfee said.

The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation said Castleberry was arrested at a shop in Bangkok.

It cited police saying Castleberry had fled to Thailand in late 2006, and was being held at the Immigration Bureau jail.

Thai police contacted late Thursday by the AP were unfamiliar with the case.

Several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, are popular with sex offenders and fugitives because of lax law enforcement and corruption in the justice system.

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Darren Ray Castleberry, 41

Sexual assault suspect captured in Thailand

A man accused of sexually assaulting four girls in the United States is expected to be back in the United States within days after his arrest in Thailand.

Darren Ray Castleberry, 41, was captured Wednesday by police working alongside U.S. federal investigators in Bangkok, officials said Thursday.

"We are extraditing Mr. Castleberry back to Harris County, (and) we hope to receive him soon," said Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.

He is charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than 14 and two counts of sexual assault of a child between age 14 and 17, officials said.

Castleberry has been on the run for about three years, working as a civilian maintenance contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, authorities said. He left the U.S. in 2006 after authorities heard the accusations.

"I'm ecstatic that they captured him. It's been a long time coming," said Deputy Pat Schifani, an investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Office's child abuse unit.

Authorities say Castleberry sexually abused the girls between 1984 and 2005.

Schifani has spoken with some of the victims since learning of Castleberry's arrest in Thailand.

"They are as happy as they can be," she said.

- Houston Chronicle / Jan. 8, 2009

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headli...ro/6201840.html

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American war veteran arrested for allegedly raping daughters

Thai police Thursday arrested an American war veteran for having allegedly raped his two daughters in the United States and then fleeing to Thailand.

Darren Ray Castleberry, 41, was arrested at a shop near the Victory Monument.

Police said Castleberry had fled to Thailand since late 2006. He is wanted under an Interpol warrant for having allegedly committed six sex offences in the United States. His former wife, Kim Castleberry, filed a complaint against him for having raped their two daughters and recorded the acts on video tape.

He was being detained at the Immigration Bureau pending extradition to the US.

The Nation / 2009-01-09

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Darren Castleberry

KHOU 11 News photo

Suspected child predator to be returned to Houston from Thailand

A sex abuse suspect from Spring, who is accused of assaulting several young girls, is being extradited to Harris County Thursday.

Darren Ray Castleberry was transported out of Thailand where he was arrested last week. Investigators said that he had been on the run since 2006.

Officials say that Castleberry was working as a contractor in Kuwait, but went AWOL after he was charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Authorities said Castleberry would videotape the assaults. They said that two of his alleged victims were his own daughters.

Castleberry could get up to life in prison if he is convicted.

KHOU 11 News (USA) / 2009-01-15

http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/kho...e7b518.html?npc

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Video News Link:

http://www.khou.com/video/topstories-index...22044&shu=1

Thanks to SRJ for the update.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Darren Ray Castleberry

Captured Fugitive Led Secret Life

HOUSTON -- An accused sexual predator from Harris County led a secret life while avoiding capture for three years.

Darren Castleberry, 40, was arrested in Thailand earlier this month. He's now in a California jail and is expected to be brought back to Houston sometime this week.

Fox 26 received a rare look at parts of the case file the U.S. Marshal's Office has collected in its investigation. Deputy U.S. Marshal Cameron Welch says Castleberry is an experienced traveler, fluent in Russian, and savvy enough to hide his computer's IP address to avoid being found.

Welch showed us a personal photo album that belonged to Castleberry and his new wife. In the pictures, Castleberry is seen standing in front of airplanes, eating at restaurants, and posing in the middle of exotic locales.

"This arrest was probably one of the biggest investigations that the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force has conducted," said Welch.

Castleberry is accused of repeatedly raping four young girls between 1984 and 2005 at homes in the Spring area. According to probable cause affidavits, Castleberry got the girls "intoxicated with alcohol" before sexually assaulting them. After Castleberry left to work for the Department of Defense in Kuwait, his ex-wife found a lockbox left behind with videotapes of the sex acts.

"Fugitives try to seek refuge in third world countries that they think have no connections to the United States. They think they're going to be able to go undetected for long periods of time. That's where they trip up," said Welch.

Marshals sent leads to investigators in seven countries where Castleberry had either been seen or was thought to be hiding. One email in the case file reads, "I saw Castleberry and his girlfriend at her apartment complex in Uzbekistan." Castleberrys' passport shows he entered Thailand in August of 2008.

"The Thai police were aware of the fugitive we were looking for and had set up surveillance on his wife, who was there visiting him. They were seen at a public place, a train station, and they were taken into custody," said Welch.

Marshals say Castleberry's wife is a real estate developer who supported him and their two year old son and may not have known he was wanted in the United States. His bond is set at $5 million in California. Final arrangements are being made to bring him back to Texas.

- Channel 26 News (Houston, Texas, USA) / 2009-01-27

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/myfox/pages/Ne...mp;pageId=3.2.1

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Video News Link:

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/myfox/MyFox/pa...mp;locale=EN-US

Thanks to SRJ for the update.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Darren Ray Castleberry is being held in the Harris County Jail, accused of sexually assaulting four girls over a period of two decades.

Houston Chronicle

$1.5 million bail set for ex-Spring man in child sex case

A judge today set bail at $1.5 million for a former Spring [Texas] resident who was arrested in Thailand last month on charges that he sexually assaulted four girls in Harris County.

Prosecutors had requested that bail be set at $2 million on each of six counts filed against Darren Ray Castleberry, but state District Judge Kevin Fine decided to set it at $250,000 on each count.

Castleberry, 41, has remained in the Harris County Jail since being returned here last week. Prosecutors maintain that he is a risk to flee in an attempt to avoid prosecution.

Castleberry was the object of a long international manhunt after he fled the country in 2006. He is accused of assaulting the girls, some of whom are relatives of his [2 daughters], from 1986 to 2005. Investigators have said he videotaped at least some of the assaults.

The alleged victims reported the incidents in 2006.

Authorities say they tracked Castleberry from Kuwait to Turkey, Armenia, and Uzbekistan during the manhunt, which ended with his arrest on Jan. 7 in Bangkok.

- Houston Chronicle / 2009-02-12

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