TBI captures fugitive after 11 years on the run

(Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
(Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has captured a fugitive who was on the run for 11 years.

Authorities started looking at a man known as Joe Anthony Mercado Ortiz in November 2005. The Springfield Police Department charged him with four counts of child rape and five counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Ortiz was arrested on Nov. 15 but was released after posting a $125,000 bond. He later failed to show up for court a week later, and a warrant for failure to appear was issued for him.

On Sept. 27, 2016, TBI agents learned that Ortiz was in Hayti, Missouri, with a woman he is believed to have fled from Tennessee with in 2005.

Officials worked with local authorities in the area, and officers with the Hayti Police Department found and arrested Ortiz at a Budget Inn hotel Friday.

According to the TBI, Joe Anthony Mercado Ortiz is a false identity that was given to them by the suspect. However, officers were able to identity him from his tattoos.

He was booked in the Pemiscot Sheriff’s Office in Pemiscot County, Missouri, and is now awaiting extradition to Tennessee.

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