Local: Education

Elite D.C. schoolteacher on FBI Most Wanted list nabbed in Nicaragua

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Local,Education,Crime,Scott McCabe,FBI

Eric Toth, the elite D.C. private school teacher who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, has been captured in Central America, according to federal law enforcement sources.

Toth was taken into custody Saturday in Esteli, Nicaragua, near the Honduran border, according to FBI sources who asked not be identified because Toth was not yet in the custody of U.S. law enforcement officials.

"Agents are on their way, right now," one FBI source said Monday afternoon.

The key tip came from a person who recently visited the tropical destination, a source said. The visitor recognized Toth as the person whose face has been plastered all over the media, bus stops and in Times Square.

Toth, a former third-grade teacher at the Washington National Cathedral's Beauvoir elementary school, had been on the lam for nearly five years after pornographic images of young boys were found on his school-issued camera.

He is charged with taking sexually explicit pictures of a boy at his Montgomery County home in 2007.

Police said there were multiple victims, including at least one boy at Beauvoir, which caters to the young children of the area's most powerful families. He is also accused of hiding a secret video camera at a bathroom just off his former classroom.

The chase began in June 2008, shortly after Beauvoir officials found digital photographs showing "inappropriate touching" of young children on the camera, and Washington National Cathedral Police removed Toth from the grounds.

But before D.C. police could interview him, Toth disappeared, heading straight for his home in Indiana. He dumped his car at a Minneapolis airport parking lot and left a suicide note saying his body could be found in a nearby lake.

Authorities followed the evidence to Illinois, then Wisconsin, before receiving a tip that he was at a homeless shelter in Phoenix in 2009.

After exhausting its leads, the FBI placed Toth on its iconic Ten Most Wanted list in April 2012. Authorities said the schoolteacher was selected partly because he represented the emergence of computer-savvy pedophiles and partly because FBI officials believed he would harm children again.

Toth became the 495th person to be named on the FBI's Most Wanted list, filling the vacancy left when Navy SEALs killed bin Laden. Since 1950, 465 of the top 10 fugitives have been apprehended. Like Toth, a third of those were nabbed as a result of a tip from the public.

The FBI was offering a $100,000 reward for Toth's capture.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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