Skull-fetching retriever helps solve Texas escaped prisoner case

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 17, 2014 1:06 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - The case of a convicted sexual predator who was one of the most wanted men in America after escaping from a federal detention facility in Texas has been solved with the help of a 15-year-old Labrador retriever who discovered the man's skull.

The dog, named Carly, found the skull in September and brought it to the Austin home of her owners. DNA testing indicates it belongs to Kevin Patrick Stoeser, who had been convicted of sexually abusing children, Hector Gomez, a supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service, said on Monday.

No other human bones were found at the Austin area site from which the dog retrieved the weathered skull. It was tested against a U.S. law enforcement database of DNA material from prisoners.

"On Nov. 5, we received written confirmation from the University of North Texas lab that the skull submitted for genetic testing was a match of Kevin Patrick Stoeser," Gomez said.

Stoeser, a former U.S. Army soldier, escaped in October 2013 from the Austin Transitional Center, where he was serving the remainder of a 13-year sentence for four counts of child sexual assault and one count of possession of child pornography.

In May, he was placed on a U.S. Marshals list of its 15 most-wanted fugitives.

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"He was a sexual predator and dangerous, posing a significant risk to our community," Gomez said.

Stoeser, born in December 1972, was convicted in 2003 and dishonorably discharged from the Army after pleading guilty to the sex abuse charges.

Gomez said the search for Stoeser could have dragged on for years if the dog had not recovered the skull. The Marshals Service will release more details of the case later on Monday.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Dan Grebler)