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For Immediate Release

Contact:
January 26, 2010 Dominic Guadagnoli, Public Affairs Officer
Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force (850) 554-6602;
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
U.S. Marshals Task Force Capture New Year’s Day Sexual Assault Suspect

Pensacola, FL – The U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested a man today who is believed to be the suspect wanted in connection with the rape of a Pensacola woman on New Year’s Day, at a Wal-Mart Parking lot on Highway 29 in Pensacola. Willard Ray Crowder, 47, was arrested at a security storage facility on East Olive Road at 2:30 p.m. today by the Task Force without incident. The warrant, which was signed this morning charges Crowder with Sexual Assault with a Weapon Sexual Battery on a Victim over 12 and Kidnapping Inflicting Bodily Harm or Terrorizing Victim. According to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office reports, the warrant was issued after their investigation linked Crowder to the rape based on evidence found at the crime scene.

The Marshals Task Force received the case from the Sheriff’s Office at about 1 p.m. and immediately began their investigation. It was determined early on that Crowder was most likely homeless and possibly in the area of Olive Road. Task Force investigators conducted several interviews and were able to narrow down his whereabouts. They then received a call that Crowder was at a business and it was just a couple of blocks away from where they were at that time. Crowder was immediately identified and placed into handcuffs. Crowder was then transported to the Escambia County Jail and interviewed by investigators before being booked into the Escambia County Jail. Crowder is being held without bond at this time.

The Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in Pensacola is made up of officers from the U.S. Marshals Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Offices, Milton, Pensacola, Ft. Walton Beach, Niceville and DeFuniak Springs Police Departments, State Attorney’s Office, the Office of Attorney General and the 1st Special Operations Security Force at Hurlburt Field.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.
 

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