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Fugitive caught on Gulf
Fled prior to plea hearing last year
Bentley Charles Howard

Forsyth County’s "most wanted" list has grown shorter with the recent arrest of a 72-year-old fugitive sought on sex abuse charges.

According to a report from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Charles Howard Bentley of Bates Drive had eluded authorities for nearly a year.

Authorities in Biloxi, Miss., arrested Bentley on Sept. 19 after they received a tip from a resident.

Bentley has been wanted since October 2010 for failing to show up to enter a plea on two counts of child molestation. He faced a sentence of three years in prison followed by probation.

According to the report, a sheriff’s warrants unit picked Bentley up Sept. 26 and brought him back to the Forsyth County Detention Center.

He remains in custody without bond, a jail spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Sheriff’s investigators said Bentley has been registering as a sex offender with the agency since 2003 for a child pornography conviction.

According to the report, he was arrested April 15, 2008, on the child molestation charges and was expected to enter a plea on Oct. 1, 2010. Instead, he disappeared.

After investigators made several unsuccessful attempts to find Bentley, a warrant was issued for his arrest for violation of the sex offender registry.

Bentley was one of three men charged with sex crimes in Forsyth County who vanished between February 2009 and October 2010 before their cases could be resolved.

Authorities are still searching for Kenneth Dustin Grant, 43, of Gainesville, and 40-year-old Marcus Tillman.

Grant did not appear Sept. 20, 2010, in Forsyth County Superior Court for a jury trial.

He has been charged with four counts of child molestation, 15 counts of sexual exploitation of children, three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of aggravated child molestation.

He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted of aggravated child molestation or aggravated sexual battery.

It appears both Grant and Bentley, who were out on bond at the time of their disappearances, ditched their ankle monitors to get away.

Tillman, who disappeared midway through his own trial in winter 2009, was convicted by a jury of child molestation, aggravated sodomy and cruelty to children charges.

Despite his absence, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison on March 19, 2009.