KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — After nearly 18 years, authorities believe that they have located two fugitives accused of sex abuse crimes. The couple fled prosecution in Klamath County back in the year 2000, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
On January 7, 2000, a Circuit Court Judge in Klamath County issued arrest warrants for Victoria Michelle Cravitz and Leon Henry Shaw for their alleged involvement in the sexual molestation of several children between the ages of six and seventeen in Klamath Falls.
Those crimes were believed to have started in December of 1989 and continued until February of 1999. Shaw faced two counts of sodomy, four counts of sex abuse, five counts of rape, six counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and obstructing governmental administration charges. Cravitz's charges include three counts of rape in the first degree and one count of sodomy in the first degree.
Yet Shaw and Cravitz were not found and brought into custody at the time. In October of 2000, a federal judge in Medford issued unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (fugitive) warrants for both Shaw and Cravitz.
On Wednesday, the FBI Jackson Violent Crimes Task Force arrested Cravitz in the Chatham community of Washington County, Mississippi. Shaw was confirmed to be deceased.
The FBI says that Cravitz, living under the assumed name Jennifer Larsen, took Shaw to a hospital due to an illness. Shaw died of natural causes at the hospital and questions about his true identity arose when administrators attempted to generate a death certificate. Someone then approached the FBI.
“This case is an excellent example of our determination to see justice done regardless of time limits,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI's commitment to bringing justice to crime victims will never waver.”
Cravitz had her initial appearance before a federal magistrate in the Southern District of Mississippi on Thursday and will be extradited back to Oregon to face both Federal and State charges.
"Our County intends to prosecute Ms. Cravitz to the full extent of the law," said Eve Costello, Klamath County District Attorney. "Her and her husband's abuse of multiple children have created long term negative ramifications for many individuals. The allegations involve the kidnap, rape and torture of a number of young girls since before 2000 when the case first came to light to DHS. DHS was able to intervene, but Ms. Cravitz and Mr. Shaw took off out of county. We are glad to see their whereabouts determined and plan to seek justice for the victims."