Fugitive Accused of Toddler Sex Abuse Arrested in Nevada

Chester Stiles, accused of raping a 3-year-old, arrested during traffic stop.

ByABC News via logo
February 12, 2009, 3:21 PM

Oct. 16, 2007 — -- Chester Stiles, the man accused of videotaping himself assaulting a 3-year-old girl, was arrested Monday night outside Las Vegas during a routine traffic stop.

Stiles, his hair now long and unruly, was driving a white Buick Century when police officers pulled him over in Henderson, Nev., for driving without a license plate.

Stiles presented a fake California driver's license, and officers immediately questioned his identity.

"He basically told us he wanted to stop running," said Mike Dye, a spokesman for the Henderson Police Department. "He said, 'I'm Chester Stiles, the guy you're looking for.'"

The nationwide manhunt for 37-year-old Stiles began three weeks ago when police released a disturbing videotape showing a 3-year-old girl being abused in unspeakable ways.

"Nothing that I've seen in my career has come anywhere close to what this girl has gone through," Sheriff Tony DeMeo of the Nevada Sheriff's Department said when the tape was released.

The identities of the victim and abuser remained a mystery, so investigators took an unprecedented step of releasing a photo of the child and her attacker. A flood of tips put authorities on the hunt for Stiles.

One of those tips came from Stiles' ex-girlfriend Elaine Thomas, who said today on "Good Morning America" that as soon as she saw the photographs police released she knew it was him.

Thomas said she called her attorney, who got in touch with police. "I didn't want to be just another tip on the tip line," she said.

Thomas said she dated Stiles for about six months in 2003, but they stayed friends after they broke up.

Thomas said there was no indication when she dated Stiles that he was a pedophile.

"As far as I knew, he was interested in dating older, heavy-set women, because that was the line of women he was dating, up to and including myself," Thomas said.