(FOX 11) - A former pastor convicted of child sex abuse in the Bay area thought he was free after fleeing to Mexico.
Fernando Maldonado is behind bars in L.A. waiting to be taken back up to Contra Costa County to be sentenced.
“I put everything I have into this case because I just couldn’t believe it, this was probably the worst case I’ve ever worked.”
Said, Miles who didn’t want his last name used. He is a private investigator who says he was hired by a bail bond insurer to help locate this wanted fugitive, 37 year-old Fernando Maldonado.
The former Bay area church pastor was convicted in December on 23 counts of sexual abuse against a 13-year-old girl. He was arrested in 2015 and released on 1.29 million dollars bail several family members and church parishioners putting up their homes as collateral.
But on December 11th during his trial, Maldonado, along with his wife and two children fled to Mexico.
“It was a total of 6 houses... He completely absconded and left them to dry. “ said Miles.
Miles and his team worked very closely with law enforcement. He says they were able to determine Maldonado’s exact location south of the border.
“He was in the state of guanajuato. A few months prior to his trial beginning there was trip that his family members took and we thought that was a little odd, we saw this by reviewing some things on the internet and that’s exactly where he was found, they went down and prepared a place for him.”
Miles gave that information to US Marshalls who took Maldonado into custody Tuesday night. He provided us this grainy cell phone video he says was taken at the moment of the arrest.
“I took this very personally this is that one... I had to get it and we worked our butts off to get it done.” Miles said.
Maldonado was extradited to Los Angeles and is currently being held in the men’s central jail. For Miles, who prefers to be called a fugitive recovery agent instead of a bounty hunter, it’s all in a day’s work.
“there’s a stigma attached to the word bounty hunter in this industry and it’s sad because I’ve never felt more fulfilled than we do when we do our jobs.”
Maldonado will be taken back up to Contra Costa county where he will be formally sentenced on April 13th.