Fugitive ex-Manatee sheriff's deputy arrested in Alaska after more than 23 years on the run

Posted by MARC R. MASFERRER on June 20, 2014 

MANATEE -- A former Manatee County sheriff's deputy wanted since 1991 on a capital sexual battery charge has been arrested in Alaska on identify theft charges, according to federal officials.

The FBI early Friday arrested Joseph Kennan May, 60, at his home in Eagle River, Alaska.

He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Anchorage at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

May had been the subject of a federal warrant charging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution since 1993, according to a news release.

"According to the indictment, May has been living under the identity of a stepbrother, Michael Camp, who died in his teens in the 1970s in Pennsylvania," the release states. "The indictment charges two counts of unlawfu use of a Social Security number, stemming from May's use of Camp's name and number to apply for an Alaska's driver's license in 2009 and unemployment benefits in 2013."

May also is charged with aggravated identify theft.

If convicted of the federal charges, May could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

He faces a life prison sentence if convicted of capital sexual battery in Manatee.

May, a former road patrol deputy, was arrested in 1990 and accused of raping a 6-year-old girl. May fled the area before he could be tried on a charge of capital sexual battery. According to an arrest document, May had sex with the child "on numerous occasions between 1970 and 1977 within Manatee County at several locations.''

May admitted to investigators that he fondled the victim and had oral sex with her. But he denied intercourse, the report stated.

Sheriff's deputies arrested May in the fall of 1990.

He was held on high bond until Oct. 30, 1990, when a judge reduced it to $5,000, court records state.

A trial was set for March 1991. By then, May was gone.

Five months later, on Aug. 28, 1991, a judge issued another warrant for May's arrest.

Officials said May committed his alleged crimes before joining the sheriff's office, has not been back to Manatee County since.

Federal investigators recently discovered that May's identity and the alias were linked.

"I started working on the case about a week ago," assistant U.S. attorney Thomas C. Bradley said. "It came to our attention a couple weeks."

He may also face additional charges, Bradley said.

Sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said the sheriff's office would not comment on May's arrest until next week. He said investigators plan to meet with the state attorney's office to determine how to proceed, since the case is so old.

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