Eric Justin Toth, 31, the FBI’s No. 1 most wanted person, was finally apprehended today by law enforcement. He had evaded arrest for five years, being sought on child pornography and pedophilia charges. Toth’s face was plastered around the nation, including a billboard at Time’s Square. The FBI received tips that led them from “Miami to Chicago to Los Angeles.”
Osama Bin Laden’s label of top wanted man in the world has been replaced by Eric Justin Toth, child pornographer.
— What The F*** Facts (@WhatTheFFacts) April 15, 2012
Here’s what you need to know…
1. He Replaced Bin Laden as No.1
He has been No. 1 on the FBI list since Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in May 2011. Upon Toth’s ascent to the top spot on the list, The Washington Times referred to Toth as “the most hated man in America.”
2. He Had Fled Across Borders
Toth was arrested in Nicaragua near the Honduran border on Saturday 20 April. Previous tips had indicated that Toth had fled to South America, a thorough FBI search came up with nothin.
3. It’s Been Four Years Since He Last Surfaced
There hadn’t been a confirmed sighting of Toth since 2009 when witnesses confirmed he had been living in a homeless shelter in Phoenix, Arizona as well as tutoring and counseling other residents of the facility.
4. His Charges Date Back to 2008
In 2008, school officials from the private Beauvoir Elementary School in Washington, D.C., sent a letter to parents to say a member of their staff had been found in possession of a camera with pornographic images of children on it. Further investigations showed Toth in possession of pictures of him sexually abusing students.
Prior to being found out Toth was in talks with another prestigious elementary school in the D.C. area about taking a job.
The Washington Post reported in 2012 that Toth:
…worked where he had access to kids, ingratiated himself with families and got extended alone time with their children, sometimes as a tutor. Then he allegedly exploited children and took pictures of them for gratification,
Back in 2002, Toth had volunteered at an elementary school in Indianapolis, while there, parents complained that he was “too close” to the children.
5. He Then Disappeared
After being confronted by school management, Toth fled the area. Within 24 hours of the confrontation he was 700 miles away from the area around Washington D.C.
In 2008, a rented car, rented by a man named “Jay Keller”, who agents believed was in fact Eric Toth, was found at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Inside, law-enforcement found a suicide note, and child pornography that was linked to Toth’s time as a camp counselor in Wisconsin.
6. There Were Numerous Sightings of Him
Officials believed he was still in the US; there had been reported sightings of him in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
7. Using a Fake Name, Toth Continued to Teach
While on the run he used the pseudonym, David Bussone, which allowed him to work as a substitute teacher and as a male nanny. When he was captured, officials found a fake US passport in Toth’s possession as well as numerous other IDs, debit, and credit cards all named with a pseudonym.
8. The FBI Refer to Him as an “Computer Expert.”
He was known as being quite adept in IT, with an ability to cover his tracks online. Agents also believe that Toth used his abilities with computers to worm his way into people’s lives, gaining trust, and possibly, alone time with children. He has also been described as as having “advanced knowledge of the Internet and security awareness.” He was a graduate of Purdue University having grown up in the Midwest.
Ronald Hosko, the special agent in charge of the criminal division at the FBI’s Washington field office, told CBS News in May 2012:
We take each tip on its own merits, but we’re certainly more attuned to something that suggests that the person has used his skills to get into a location that’s proximate to kids in the target range. These are young teens, 10 to 12 years old.
9. A $100,000 Reward Was Offered For Information
His placement at No. 1 on the FBI’s most wanted list was in part due to his “reassuring behavior,” which contributed to him being left alone with children. A Slate.com blog speculates that Toth may have taken the No.1 position because he was “goofy looking.”
There was a $100,000 reward for information that led to his capture, it’s not known if anybody is claiming it in this instance.
10. If Found Guilty, Toth Faces a Harsh Punishment
He face 15-30 years in prison for his actions.