An 82-year-old man wanted for child rape in Williamson County has been arrested in California.
U.S. Marshalls captured Wendell Washam at the LAX airport on Sunday afternoon after he arrived on a flight from Australia.
Washam was wanted by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office for failure to report for trial, two counts of rape of a child and solicitation to commit rape of a child, among other charges.
He was added to the state's Most Wanted list last December.
Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Washam's bail bondsman, Amir Karshenas, who convinced the octogenarian to return to the United States after hiding in Australia for the last six months.
After learning Washam had fled the country, the longtime bondsman said he took action to prevent his $200,000 bond from being in jeopardy.
Karshenas said he went to Missouri and visited with the fugitive's girlfriend who was reportedly in contact with Washam and collecting his Social Security benefits.
“I called her numerous times. I said, ‘Listen, I know you get his money some how, you get his benefits.' She admitted she takes his social security money and she calls him, and he calls her and they talk,” he explained, adding, “I told her that she is helping a fugitive and we know that. I told her you have involvement and you are harboring a fugitive and by law you can go to jail.”
Karshenas added that he spoke to Washam online while he was staying with friends in Melbourne, Australia.
“I told him that it would be better if he voluntarily came back and that the law would be easier on him. He is sick and tired of Australia. For five months he has been staying in the house,” he said.
Karshenas told Nashville's News 2 Investigates that he paid $1,895 for Washam's ticket to LA. Once the elderly man was onboard the United flight he called airport police and informed them a fugitive was on his way back to the United States.
“They could not believe it at first. They thanked me and said we will take care of that,” he said.
Washam has since waived extradition proceedings. It is unclear when he will be brought back to Tennessee.
- Dec. 10, 2012: 82-year-old man wanted for child rape