For nearly three decades, a man accused of molesting his stepdaughter eluded police. That changed last summer when Charles Leon Parker was arrested in Florida.
On Tuesday, Parker, 70, died in jail, three days before he was scheduled to be in a Douglas County courtroom, according to District Attorney David McDade.
“Justice was served today,” McDade said in an emailed statement. “It may not be something that we can see with our eyes, but I truly believe Charles Parker is facing a more severe judgment than our courts could ever allow. His last breath wasn’t in freedom, it was in confinement.”
During his 29 years on the run, Parker was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” and topped the list of Douglas County’s most sought-after fugitives. Eight months ago, officers in Madison, Fla., investigating an insurance fraud fingerprinted Parker, who had been living under the alias R.M. Healan, McDade said.
The fingerprints revealed Parker’s real identity and a background check turned up outstanding warrants dating back to 1982, McDade said. Parker was extradited to Georgia, but was transferred to a facility in South Carolina after becoming ill. He died in the S.C. jail Tuesday morning, McDade said.
Parker was originally arrested on November 24, 1982, after investigators learned of the allegations that he was having sexual intercourse with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. The girl, an eighth grader at the time, told investigators the sexual relationship with the defendant began two years earlier, the DA’s office Tuesday.
According to the victim, whose name was not released, the majority of the incidents occurred when her mother and Parker’s biological son were out of the house, leaving Parker alone with the victim and her other sister. The other sister was ordered by Parker to clean areas of the house while the victim stayed with him in his bedroom, the victim told police. The sexual relationship occurred during Parker’s four-year marriage to the victim’s mother.
A friend of the victim convinced the girl to talk to a school counselor, who contacted police, McDade said.
“It was just one of those things,” Parker told investigators after his arrest, according to McDade.
Following his initial arrest in 1982, Parker was released on a $25,000 bond. He was indicted in January 1983 on three counts of child molestation and two counts of incest. Several months later, Parker fled from Georgia before his trial could begin.
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