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Purple Heart vet who faked own death captured hours after being added to US Marshals’ ‘Most Wanted’ list: authorities

Police handcuff suspect. (MaxPixel/Released)

An accused child rapist who this week became one of the country’s most wanted fugitives was arrested just hours after the U.S. Marshals Service added him to the notorious list.

Jacob Blair Scott, a military veteran who’s accused of raping and impregnating his 14-year-old stepdaughter, was found Wednesday night in a mobile home park in Oklahoma thanks to a tipster who had seen news reports about him earlier that day, authorities said.

The 43-year-old had just been added to the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted fugitives list after more than 18 months on the run.

 

“This all-out media blitz led to a critical citizen tip that ultimately resulted in the fastest apprehension of a fugitive in the 37-year history of the 15 Most Wanted program,” Jeff Tyler, the agency’s assistant director for investigative operations, said in a statement.

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Scott, who allegedly faked his own death to avoid prosecution, is accused of sexually assaulting his wife’s daughter while the woman slept in their Mississippi home.

The victim’s mother learned about the abuse after the girl went to a hospital and learned she was 10 weeks pregnant, according to police. A DNA test later revealed that Scott was the father.

The suspect, who received a Purple Heart in 2011 for injuries he sustained while deployed in Iraq, was charged with multiple felonies at the time, but he posted bond and disappeared in July 2018, authorities said.

Scott then staged his own death by leaving a suicide note and a gun on a dinghy and leaving it off the coast of Orange Beach in Alabama, according to police. But investigators never found his body or any forensic evidence of a suicide at the scene and later learned Scott had withdrawn $45,000 from his bank account just before he vanished, officials said.

Following the U.S. Marshals’ plea for information on Wednesday, a tipster in Oklahoma’s Pushmataha County called local authorities to report that a man fitting the suspect’s description was staying in a nearby mobile park, the federal agency said in a news release Thursday.

The Pushmataha County Sheriff’s Office alerted U.S. Marshals and helped coordinate Scott’s arrest later that night. When agents arrived, the fugitive initially refused to confirm his identity, but he eventually admitted to being Scott after authorities verified his tattoos.

The accused rapist was awaiting extradition Thursday to Mississippi, where he faces a 14-count indictment charging him with sexual battery, exploitation of a child and touching a child for lustful purposes.

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© 2020 New York Daily News