Stephen Eugene Beck, a Wilson County man who fled the state in 2011 following multiple child rape charges, was arrested Tuesday in Wilmington, North Carolina, according to a press release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Beck, 43, was charged in August 2010 in Wilson County on six counts of rape of a child and 14 counts of rape. That same month he was indicted in Rutherford County on three counts of rape of a child.
A felony warrant for failure to appear in court was issued after he failed to report to Wilson County Criminal Court on July 25, 2011 to enter a plea or set a trial date. He was out on $150,000 bond in Wilson County a $1 million dollar bond in Rutherford County.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said the search for Beck, who was placed on Tennessee’s Top Ten Most Wanted fugitive list at the department’s request, was turned over to the TBI and U. S. Marshal’s Service when leads indicated that he had fled the state after several months of the local sheriff’s department following local leads.
“In a case like that, we try to use all the sources we can to apprehend the person. Turning it over it becomes a central office where we can communicate all of our leads, their leads and everybody else’s leads,” Bryan said.
Bryan said over the past several years, the sheriff’s department learned of possible sightings of Beck in Kentucky and Tennessee. More recently they had information he may have been in North Carolina.
“All of that information was combined, and the information about North Carolina was collaborated as it related to different associations he had in the area,” Bryan said.
According to the TBI press release, TBI Special Agents, U.S. Marshal Service personnel, Wilson County deputies, and Rutherford County deputies have searched for over two-and-a-half years for Beck in an investigation that involved hundreds of tips, over a thousand leads, and across 17 states.
In February 2014, TBI developed information that Beck had been living in the Johnson City, Tennessee area and was actively avoiding capture, the release stated. Eventually, it was learned that Beck moved to Wilmington last June. TBI Special Agents and Deputy U.S. Marshals searched for Beck in that area for the past few months.
That investigation led U.S. Marshals personnel to 124 Dapple Court in Wilmington, where Beck was found to be living under the stolen identity of Jason Keith, according to an article by Adam Wagner with StarNewsOnline.com.
Bryan said the alias Beck was living under was the same information his department had been getting.
Wagner’s article also stated that Deputy U.S. Marshal Russ Fields reported the U.S. Marshals in Wilmington had been following up on leads from the U.S. Marshals Task Force about Beck.
“They did not know who he really was,” Fields said. “He was hiding under the name Jason Keith.”
According to Wagner’s article, Beck was arrested by the Eastern N.C. Violent Fugitive Task Force, made up of U.S. Marshals, N.C. State Probation officers and officers from the Wilmington Police Department, Fields said.
Bryan said the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department will “expedite the procedure to get him back to Tennessee where he belongs.”
He also said the department has talked with the families of the victims in the case.
Amelia Morrison Hipps is a correspondent for The Wilson Post. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.