Eric Toth: 'Paedophile' teacher on FBI's most wanted list is arrested in Nicaragua
Former nanny and youth counsellor had been on the run since 2008
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Tuesday 23 April 2013
The former primary school teacher who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list has been arrested in Nicaragua.
Eric Toth, 31, had been on the run since 2008, when he was accused of producing child pornography while teaching at the Beauvoir private primary school in Washington, DC.
Toth was apprehended by Nicaraguan police on Saturday in Esteli, a city 90 miles north of the capital Managua, and close to the Honduran border. He had entered the Central American country illegally using a false passport, and was also carrying a fake driver’s licence and credit cards. He is expected to be extradited to the US in short order.
The former nanny and youth counsellor taught at Beauvoir, a primary school attached to the Washington National Cathedral, for around three years. He was reportedly known for taking an unusual interest in the eight- and nine-year-old boys in his class: tutoring them for free, inviting them to sit on his lap, even babysitting when their parents were away.
In June 2008, one of Toth’s colleagues found sexually explicit photos of a student on a school-owned camera he had been using. Toth had also allegedly installed a hidden video camera in the toilet used by his students. The school authorities confronted him and escorted him from the premises, but by the time the police became involved, he had already left Washington.
Toth fled to his family’s home in Indiana, and from there to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport in Minnesota, where he left a note in a rented car, claiming to have drowned himself in a nearby lake. With the note, police also found several explicit child pornography images, thought to date to Toth’s time working at a youth summer camp in Wisconsin.
By 2009, he had made it to Phoenix, Arizona, where he volunteered at a homeless shelter and rehabilitation centre under the name David Bussone. He told others at the centre that he had taken a vow of poverty, until someone recognised him from a recent episode of the television programme America’s Most Wanted and alerted the police. Once again, Toth fled.
He was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list in April 2012, following the death of Osama bin Laden. The Bureau claimed he was often described as a “computer expert”, and possessed “above-average knowledge regarding computers, the use of the internet, and security awareness.” It suggested he was could “integrate easily into socio-economic groups”, and offered a $100,000 (£65,000) reward for information leading to his arrest. Places on the Most Wanted list are generally reserved for terrorists and violent criminals, but FBI officials said they included Toth because they believed he posed a particular threat to children.
The Top 10 Most Wanted can expect to see their faces in post offices, bus stops and on billboards across the US. The first list was published in 1950, when J Edgar Hoover was Director of the FBI. Soon after bin Laden’s death, the Bureau was also forced to find a replacement for the notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who remained at large for 16 years – and occupied a spot on the list for 12 – until he was apprehended in Santa Monica, California in June 2011.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof cause of death: Socialite had taken fatal dose of heroin after years of addiction, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...