FORSYTH COUNTY — A years-long hunt for a Forsyth County man who disappeared after being indicted on child molestation charges ended over the weekend with his capture in Mexico.
According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, 46-year-old Kenneth Dustin Grant was tracked to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he had been living and working under a false name after throwing his ankle monitor in Lake Lanier and vanishing four years ago.
The U.S. Marshals Service’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Taskforce and a sheriff’s deputy assigned to the unit worked with members of the service’s Guadalajara office and Mexican immigration officials to catch Grant.
Grant is being held in Los Angeles, where he was taken by Mexican immigration officials. Robin Regan, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Grant has an extradition hearing scheduled for Tuesday. If he chooses to prolong the process, he may not return to Georgia for several weeks.
“He can waive the extradition hearing and just agree to come back, but if he chooses to have a hearing, then there’s a process that we have to go through,” Regan said.
“One of those parts of that process is we have to get what’s called a governor’s warrant, and that’s what is needed to bring him back across state lines.”
Grant likely will be held at the Forsyth County Detention Center upon his return, according to Regan.
Regan credited a segment about Grant on “America’s Most Wanted,” a television show that aims to publicize information about fugitives in the hopes of having them captured, for introducing the Mexico possibility.
“After the show aired, several tips came in,” Regan said. “There was some information we got that seemed to be fairly credible, so we followed up on it.
“And through some computer forensics evidence, we were able to determine that [Mexico] was a likely place that he would be.”
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, which is in the western-Pacific area of the country.
Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Regan declined to release details about Grant’s possible contacts there or whether the fugitive kept in touch with his family in the United States.
He did say, however, that Grant didn’t have any clear ties to Mexico, nor is he a native Spanish speaker.
Prior to his disappearance, Grant had 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 faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted of aggravated child molestation or aggravated sexual battery.
Grant’s case dates to November 2008, when he reportedly drugged and assaulted his two young children’s teenage baby-sitter, who was the daughter of a friend.
Grant reportedly photographed the incident. During the ensuing investigation, photographs of a similar assault on the teen baby-sitter’s older sister and photographs of other young girls were discovered.
Grant was indicted in October 2009 and posted a $75,000 bond in January 2010.
When he failed to show up for a court hearing nine months later, authorities discovered he had thrown his ankle bracelet in Lake Lanier.
There’s a possibility that Grant may face more charges in the U.S., as well as Mexico.
“We are looking at additional charges and seeing what other laws may have been broken during the time that he’s been [in Mexico],” Regan said.
Grant 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. And he was the third to be apprehended.
In September 2011, 72-year-old Charles Howard Bentley was arrested in Biloxi, Miss.
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.
Marcus Tillman, 43, who disappeared midway through his own trial in winter 2009, was arrested last fall in San Francisco.
Despite his absence five years ago, Tillman was ultimately convicted by a jury of child molestation, aggravated sodomy and cruelty to children charges and sentenced to 40 years in prison on March 19, 2009.
Tillman was extradited to Forsyth in October and later transferred to the state Department of Corrections.