Decomposing body identified as ‘Most Wanted’ fugitive with San Diego arrest warrant

California

(U.S. Marshals Service)

SAN DIEGO — A child molestation suspect wanted by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies for 16 years was found dead this month in South Carolina, according to federal authorities.

The U.S. Marshals Service said a neighbor visited a home on Jennifer Lane in Seneca, South Carolina, on Nov. 6 to check on an elderly man who hadn’t been seen in weeks. The neighbor found a decomposing body and called police, who made their own surprising discovery.

A U.S. Marshals Service Most Wanted poster for Frederick Cecil McLean, who was found dead in South Carolina after 16 years on the run. (U.S. Marshals Service)

The dead man was identified as 70-year-old Frederick Cecil McLean, who law enforcement had been searching for since 2005. McLean was wanted by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly molesting young females for up to 25 years with at least eight known victims, authorities said.

He was a Jehovah’s Witness, according to his wanted poster, and found his victims through people he met through church. One victim told investigators McLean assaulted her more than 100 times, starting when she was five and ending about seven years later.

McLean was placed on the Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” fugitives list in 2006 and a $25,000 reward was offered for his arrest.

An autopsy was conducted on Nov. 15 and his identity was confirmed through fingerprint analysis. No foul play is suspected in his death, investigators said.

McLean lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Anderson, South Carolina, and used numerous aliases during his time on the run. He called himself “James Fitzgerald” and lived at the South Carolina home where he was found for the past 15 years, authorities said.

The Marshals and local authorities are now working to learn if McLean had help in avoiding capture. They’re also urging additional victims or anyone with information about the case to contact them.

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