A suspected pedophile from Phoenix faked his death and then fled across the country to escape prosecution, police say.
Christen Allen Wright, 38, was scheduled to appear in a Maricopa County court earlier this month in connection to an investigation which began in 2017. The investigation prompted authorities with the El Mirage Police Department to charge Wright with a slew of child sex crimes, including felony sexual misconduct with a minor and molestation of a child.
However, in the days before his scheduled court appearance on March 20, Wright allegedly concocted an elaborate ruse to fake his death and then flee the state. According to reports, Wright collaborated with an acquaintance who posed as a nurse and called his family to say that Wright, who had driven himself to a nearby hospital, had died. When the family came to the hospital to retrieve Wright’s belongings, including his court-ordered electric monitoring device, they met up with the acquaintance, who allegedly donned scrubs and other gear appropriate for a medical professional.
“This act of deception assisted Mr. Wright in fleeing Arizona,” a police report said.
Within days, Wright was tracked to Clark County, Indiana, where a Flock camera, designed to read license plates and “unique vehicle details like roof racks,” reportedly caught sight of a vehicle connected to him. On 5 p.m. on Friday, members of the Southern Indiana Regional SWAT team rearrested Wright without incident at a home in Sellersburg, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.
Clark County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mark Grube admitted that the situation involving Wright was unusual. “I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” Grube said. “It’s new for me, especially for this reason, … but in some ways, it worked for him. He got out of the area, he got out of Arizona, and he came here, and it didn’t work here.”
Grube estimated that Wright had been in Indiana for approximately 24 to 36 hours before he was apprehended. It is unclear whether Wright has any ties to the area. Clark County deputies and Jeffersonville, Indiana, police assisted in the local investigation.
As of Monday afternoon, Wright was in custody in the Clark County jail awaiting extradition to Arizona. He could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted on the pedophilia-related charges.
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