OCALA, Fla. (WJW) – Members of the US Marshals, Florida-Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force, on Tuesday arrested a man wanted in Northeast Ohio for sex crimes with a minor.
Matthew Rutter, 29, was wanted by the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office and Conneaut Police Department for rape and three counts of gross sexual imposition, according to a release from the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.
Officers say Rutter is accused of raping a minor and having sexual contact with a minor from January of 2017 through January of 2019, the release says.
After beginning to look for Rutter in July 2022, investigators with the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force believed Rutter had fled Ashtabula County and headed south. Sightings of Rutter in Pennsylvania and West Virginia finally led to his arrested by the US Marshals in Florida.
Officers say he was found hiding in an Astro van in the Ocala National Forest.
“We will never stop pursuing those that are accused of harming children, and this is another example of the nationwide reach of the U.S. Marshals Service,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated. “No matter where these dangerous fugitives run to, we will find them.”
Anyone with information on a wanted fugitive should call the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED.
Reward money is available, and tipsters may remain anonymous.