After six years, U.S. Marshals capture child molestation fugitive

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJune 17, 2014 

Muscogee County Jail. 08.03.2010

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

A six-and-a-half year run for Columbus fugitive Tommie Lee Lias ended when he was nabbed on charges of child molestation and aggravated sexual battery in Houston, the U.S. Marshals Service said late Tuesday.

Lias was located and taken into custody without incident by the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force. He is being held in the Harris County Jail until he is extradited back to Columbus, Deputy Marshal Lamont Ruffin said in a release.

Lias was accused of sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl on Dec. 3, 2007, according to a Columbus police report. Officers said the victim's parents or guardians learned about the incident, alerted authorities and warrants were issued for his arrest.

The Fugitive Unit of the Columbus Police Department tried to locate Lias but were unable to find the fugitive. The department sought help from the U.S. Marshals in April.

Shortly after reviewing the case, the marshals developed leads that led authorities to the Houston area. An investigation revealed that Lias had assumed a new identity and obtained employment.

The Marshals Service Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force in the Houston Division received a tip from the marshals in the Middle District on Lias. The fugitive was located on Tuesday.

The location of Lias' arrest wasn't available.

The Middle District of Georgia encompasses 70 of Georgia's 159 counties and covers more than 25,471 square miles. Authorities focus on arresting violent offenders and sexual predators.

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