‘In Pursuit with John Walsh’ Viewer Tip Leads to Arrest of Alleged Sexual Predator

William Stanson

Michigan State Police

True-crime network Investigation Discovery announced Wednesday, February 5 that during a recent episode of In Pursuit with John Walsh, a viewer called in a tip and it led to the arrest of a sexual predator in Mexico. Here’s what you need to know about the show’s work with the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Willian Stanson Has Been Extradited and Taken Into Custody

William Troy Stanson was extradited from Mexico on Wednesday, February 5 after he was profiled on the January 29 episode of Investigation Discovery true-crime series In Pursuit with John Walsh, Investigation Discovery announced in a press release. During each episode, an active call center accepting phone calls and text messages operates at 1-833-3-PURSUE and a dedicated online hub at InPursuitTips.com are staffed by trained English and Spanish-speaking operators, who accept anonymous tips and alert the proper authorities.

The network and show worked in conjunction with the Michigan State Police and FBI to bring this suspected sexual predator in after “a phone tip from a brave viewer.” Stanson will be brought to Berrien County, Michigan, where he is expected to face charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and failure to appear for sentencing on the original charge of accosting a minor.

“Stanson marks the 12th fugitive featured on In Pursuit with John Walsh to now be in custody, and we are thrilled that our ID audience has helped lead to the arrest William Stanson, hopefully closing a dark chapter for his victims,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “I am so proud of our viewers for taking a stand to actively engage in the justice system, and we remain committed to the profound work that John and Callahan Walsh do on this series, which helps bring answers and closure to so many families.”

Stanson Allegedly Molested His Daughter, Kayla

In 2014, a group of teenage girls went to the local authorities alleging that while at a sleepover at their friend Kayla’s house, her father William Stanson assaulted them. Stanson pleaded guilty to accosting a minor for immoral purposes and subsequently had to register as a sex offender, according to Investigation Discovery.

Then in 2015, Kayla came forward as well, alleging that her father had been molesting her for 10 years. She also said that she became pregnant at age 16 with his child and was forced to get an abortion in another state. When authorities questioned Stanson, he admitted to the relationship but claimed it was consensual. Before the Michigan State Police could secure a warrant, Stanson fled.

His fugitive characteristics and details at the time included that Stanson “has a scar on his right ankle from a gunshot wound and walks with a limp.” He has “experience with construction and fixing cars and may have found under-the-table employment as a mechanic or in construction.”

The In Pursuit with John Walsh episode that featured Stanson said that he was tracked to Los Angeles, California, and then to Lake Havasu, Arizona. The last trace authorities had of him was when he sold a truck in August 2015 in Lake Havasu — until the episode yielded a viewer tip and Stanson was arrested in Mexico this week and extradited back to the United States.

“Once it was determined Stanson was out of the country, the St. Joseph (MI) FBI office was contacted and coordinated efforts leading to the location and arrest of Stanson were undertaken,” reads a release from the Michigan State Police. “The FBI obtained an Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) warrant and requested assistance from their Mexico law enforcement partners in Baja California, located in northwestern Mexico … On February 4, 2020, William Troy Stanson, age 53, was taken into custody by Mexican authorities.”

“The arrest of Stanson was a culmination of the public’s help and numerous law enforcement agencies working together,” continues the release, “to include the Michigan State Police, Bridgman Police Department (MI), FBI, U.S. Marshals, Guardia Estatal de Seguridad (Baja California, MX) and the television show In Pursuit with John Walsh featuring the investigations on Investigation Discovery Network. Law enforcement would also like to thank the family of the victims for their assistance and cooperation throughout this investigation.”

In Pursuit with John Walsh continues Wednesday, February 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery, with John following the trail of Lenell Kirby, a highly dangerous fugitive, in Detroit, Michigan. Then, the quest for justice is deeply personal for John and Callahan Walsh in the tragic, unsolved murder of a close family friend, Lindsay Harris, from Skaneateles, New York.

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