Fugitive Serial Child Molester Caught

The U.S. Marshals Service has tracked down and arrested a serial child molester who had been on the run since April 2010. Richard Heeringa, a convicted child molester on the agency’s 15 Most Wanted list, was taken into custody this weekend in Detroit.

Heeringa was convicted in Colorado April 15, 2010, of 17 counts of sexual assault on a 12 year-old-girl, among other crimes. As a repeat offender, Heeringa faced a potential 500-year prison sentence. He ran on the night of his conviction and kept running until the weekend.

The U.S. Marshals Service says Heeringa, 55, has two other sex-assault cases pending in Colorado, and previously served 12 years in prison in Michigan after a sex-assault conviction there. The 2010 charges stem from Heeringa’s relationship with the daughter of a single mother whom he met in 2005.

Heeringa met the single mother from Colorado shortly after being released from prison in 2004, according to authorities. He moved to Colorado in 2005 and began living with the mother and her daughter. He soon began sexually abusing the 12-year-old and continued the abuse until January 2008, when the child came forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

“Richard Heeringa is a predator, who has a track record of preying on young girls,” said Geoff Shank, acting assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Investigative Operations Division.

Finding Heeringa was challenging because of his self-sufficiency and ties to many areas of the country, the agency said. Heeringa has a history of working in construction and had his own construction company in the past.

He could make a living as a handyman. He is skilled in martial arts and has been a hunter in the past, so he could live in the wilderness for a while. He was born in Michigan and has family there. He also has ties to Georgia and California.

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