Most-wanted fugitive captured in Mexico for Detroit child rape

Detroit — A man wanted for more than a decade in the rape of a young girl has been arrested in Mexico, authorities announced Thursday.

Corey Deshawn Gaston, 41, was arrested Tuesday near Guadalajara, Mexico, and is being held at the Cook County Jail in Chicago until he is extradited to Michigan, where he has a pending trial. 

Corey Deshawn Gaston

Gaston is wanted by the Detroit Police Department for numerous offenses including first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct against a child under 13, kidnapping, home invasion and child enticement.

The 2007 incident in Detroit landed Gaston on the U.S. Marshals Service Most Wanted Fugitives list as armed and dangerous with a $25,000 reward for his arrest.

"Corey Gaston is every parent’s worst nightmare," said Mark Jankowski, acting U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan, in a statement. 

"While he was on the run for more than 10 years, the Marshals considered it borrowed time because we never stopped looking for him. I hope his arrest brings some sense of closure to the victim and her family who had to endure years of him eluding justice."

Authorities said the attack occurred on June 27, 2007. Gaston is accused of breaking into the Detroit home of a 10-year-old girl and kidnapping her through a bedroom window.

He allegedly put the child over his shoulder and ran to a nearby alley where he threw her on the ground and brutally raped her.

After the rape, he told her to go home and threatened to hurt her if she screamed or ran away, authorities said.

Authorities found Gaston’s phone and DNA at the scene of the crime. Within days of the attack, a warrant was issued for Gaston’s arrest, but his whereabouts were unknown.

In July 2007, U.S. Marshals tracked Gaston down in Georgia and returned him to Michigan. Gaston was granted bond in August 2007 pending his February 2008 trial date. During the time, investigators positively match the DNA found at the crime scene to Gaston, officials said.

Corey Deshawn Gaston in 2007.

During his trial, Gaston did not show. He was added to the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted in December 2011.

During a news conference Thursday at the U.S. Marshals' office in Detroit, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District Joseph Abdullah said Gaston was arrested by Mexican authorities, who then reached out to U.S. Marshals. Abdullah said it's not clear why Mexican authorities arrested Gaston, but he gave them an alias. 

U.S. Marshals visited with the suspect and a fingerprint scan confirmed his identity as Gaston.

Despite having him in custody, marshals continued to investigate when Gaston entered Mexico and whether he received help from others to flee to the country and stay hidden.

Gaston arrived at a Chicago detention center Thursday morning where he will be held until his hearing in Michigan is arranged. 

Detroit Police Department officials praised the marshals and other law enforcement officers who helped bring in Gaston.

"Certainly, we're ecstatic about it," Detroit Assistant Police Chief David LeValley said. "The crimes he's accused of ... they're heinous. And we don't want to give up on crimes of this nature."

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office echoed the sentiment.

"This guy has not had his day in court yet, but we're extremely happy for the victim," said Robert Dunlap, chief of the sheriff's office. "That she'll get a chance to face this person and hopefully see the justice she deserves."

Dunlap, who was an assistant Detroit Police Chief when the attack happened, said Gaston will be housed at the Wayne County Jail when he is extradited back to Michigan.

Officials said Thursday they have unsuccessfully reached out to the victim and her family.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_