Seattle man accused of child rape faked his death and lived under assumed name in LA for 15 years before actually dying

Residents of an apartment building in Los Angeles, California, were shocked to find out that their maintenance man was living under an assumed name after faking his death to flee from child-rape allegations.

The neighbors were planning a memorial service for the man they knew as 56-year-old Mark Clemens when they discovered his real name was Christian R. Basham. The truth was revealed by the Los Angeles County coroner.

Basham had been charged with second-degree child rape in Sept. 2008, but he posted $350,000 for bail and missed his next court date, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, Washington.

In March 2009, a driver told police they saw someone matching Basham’s description jumping off of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. They found Basham’s car near the bridge and found a suicide note inside the car. No body was ever found.

He was presumed dead until an investigation revealed Basham and Clemens were the same man.

Tommy Cuellar was Clemens’ next-door neighbor at the apartments.

“Very shocking,” Cuellar said to KABC-TV. “This was our maintenance guy. This was the guy who had keys to our apartments. It was troubling to say the least, as you could imagine.”

Cuellar said that his interactions with Clemens were always positive and the accused child molester had actually babysat Cuellar’s cat sometimes.

“None of us suspected any of this at all by the way,” Cuellar continued. “It was a complete shock. But still disturbing when you think about, you know, of what he did or is accused of doing. I guess there’s no background check for maintenance people or something?”

A different resident said that they cancelled the memorial service after finding out what Basham had been arrested for.

“He was just like a normal person, a little rough sometimes but it was his personality. No other clue that he was this person he was accused of being,” said another resident to KABC.

Officials have begun a follow-up investigation in order to retrace Basham’s steps since he left Seattle presumably in 2009.

Basham had been facing six and a half years for the child rape charge before he faked his death.

Here’s more about the startling incident:

Child-rape suspect faked own death, lived in LA under assumed

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