A Wilson County man who fled the state in 2011 following child rape charges was arrested Tuesday in Wilmington, N.C.
According to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Stephen Eugene Beck, 43, was indicted in August 2010 on nine counts of rape of a child, 16 counts of rape and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor when he fled the state in 2011 before facing trial.
He was also indicted in August 2010 in Rutherford County on three counts of rape of child, according to the sheriff’s office.
Beck was previously released on a $1.15 million bail in both Wilson and Rutherford counties and was set to report to court in Wilson County July 25, 2011, to set a trial date, but failed to appear, according to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation add Beck to the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive list after he failed to report to court in Wilson County on July 25, 2011.
According to Deputy U.S. Marshal Russ Fields, marshals in Wilmington were following up on leads from the U.S. Marshals Task Force in Nashville that Beck was hiding in Wilmington under an alias since June. Fields said it turned out Beck was staying with a friend.
“They did not know who he really was,” Fields said. “He was hiding under the name Jason Keith.”
Fields said Eastern North Carolina Violent Fugitive Task Force agents, made up of U.S. Marshals, North Carolina state probation officers and officers from the Wilmington Police Department, arrested Beck.
Drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized from the apartment during Beck’s arrest, TBI agents said.
TBI special agents, U.S. Marshal Service personnel, Wilson County deputies and Rutherford County deputies searched for more than two and a half years for Beck in an investigation that involved hundreds of tips and more than 1,000 leads across 17 states. In February, TBI agents developed information Beck was living in the Johnson City area and was actively avoiding capture.
Beck will be booked into the New Hanover County, N.C. Jail to await extradition, as well as face charges there.
Adam Wagner with the Wilmington, N.C. Star News and Lebanon Democrat staff writer Caitlin Rickard contributed to this report.