A Wilson County man who fled the state in 2011 following child rape charges and was arrested May 21 in Wilmington, N.C. returned to Middle Tennessee on Thursday.
Wilson County’s most wanted fugitive until his arrest, Stephen Eugene Beck, 43, arrived early Thursday evening at the Rutherford County Jail, according to Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. He said deputies from both counties assisted in Beck’s extradition and split the cost.
A Wilson County grand jury indicted Beck 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.
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 on July 25, 2011, to set a trial date, but failed to appear.
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.
In May, 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 2013. 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 actively avoiding capture.
Beck was booked in at the New Hanover County, N.C. Jail and remained there until his extradition Thursday.
Bryan said Beck would be extradited to face charges in Wilson County within the next few weeks.
Adam Wagner with the Wilmington, N.C. Star News and Lebanon Democrat staff writer Caitlin Rickard contributed to this report.