DENVER (CBS4) – U.S. Marshals announced on Tuesday the arrest of one of their most wanted fugitives, a man who was found guilty of sexual assault in Colorado.
Richard Heeringa, 55, was taken into custody over the weekend in Detroit. He was one of the U.S. Marshals 15 most wanted fugitives.
In 2005 Heeringa moved in with a Douglas County mother and her 12-year-old daughter and began sexually assaulting the girl. He was arrested in 2008 and after a 2 week jury trial in 2010 he was found guilty on 17 counts of child sex assault. He was out on bond during the trial and he disappeared the night before the jury was to return his guilty verdict.
“Mr. Heeringa left in the middle of trial rather than face the consequences of his actions. Despite that he was convicted of his actions and sentenced to an extraordinarily long number of years, he is going to come back to Colorado to spend the rest of his life in jail,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said.
Heeringa now faces more than 500 years in prison.
His victim and her mother told CBS4 on Monday they are relieved he has been captured.
“I just really want that day where I can stand in front of him and know that he didn’t win this and he’s going to pay for what he did,” the victim told CBS4, asking that she remain anonymous.
“I hate to have to see anybody have to spend the rest of their life behind bars but he has hurt my daughter and my family nobody should have to go through that,” her mother said.
Heeringa was convicted of sex assault on a child in Michigan in 1992 and served 12 years in prison after that.
Officials on Tuesday said a tipster led them to the location where Heeringa had been hiding. They said that person saw a report about Heeringa on the TV show America’s Most Wanted.
Investigators said Heeringa had changed his name and appearance and was working construction in Detroit. The tipster said he often talked about martial arts; something authorities were aware of.
Authorities say it may take several months for Heeringa to be extradited to Colorado.