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Southwest Florida fugitive arrested after spending 26 years in Mexico

Authorities say Earl Jay Slaton lived with new wife in small Mexican village

Earl Jay Slaton, 72, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from 1990 after authorities say he spent 26 years living in Mexico illegally.
Earl Jay Slaton, 72, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from 1990 after authorities say he spent 26 years living in Mexico illegally.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A southwest Florida fugitive on the run for 26 years has been arrested after he was deported from Mexico, where he had been living for more than two decades.

Earl Jay Slaton, now 72, was accused of sexual battery on a victim under 18 and child abuse in Lee County in 1990.

When the Lee County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for his arrest, there was no trace of Slaton anywhere in the U.S. Family members said they hadn't had any contact with him since learning of the allegations and had no idea where to find him.

However, "a lead was eventually developed that Slaton was now living with his new wife in the remote Nayarit region of Mexico, some 400 miles west of Mexico City," the Lee County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Sunday announcing Slaton's apprehension.

After Mexican federal police and U.S. marshals found Slaton near the small village of San Juan de Abajo, Slaton was deported to Los Angeles. Detectives learned during the investigation that Slaton had been living in Mexico illegally for about 26 years.

Slaton was extradited from California and booked into the Lee County jail late Saturday night. He is being held without bond.