The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

December 11, 2012

Wanted man caught after four months on the run

ANDERSON, Ind. — A man who eluded Madison County police and U.S. marshals for nearly four months was arrested and transported to Madison County Jail on Saturday, Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson said.

Joseph A. Esparza, 48, fled authorities in Madison County after a warrant for his arrest for two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor was filed Aug. 17. Esparza was tracked to California, Las Vegas and Nashville before marshals arrested him, Richardson said.

The charges stem from an incident on March 23 when Esparza allegedly raped a 15-year-old in his home in the 400 block of North County Road 650 West, Anderson, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Esparza was at the house with his girlfriend, five family members and friends and the alleged victim, each of whom had differing and contradicting stories about the incident in interviews with detectives, according to the affidavit. In a later interview, one of the friends of the victim admitted to lying to police, and a warrant was issued for Esparza’s arrest, according to the affidavit.

Detectives contacted Esparza’s lawyer shortly after the warrant was issued, and they were told Esparza had fled the state, Richardson said.

“There was believed to be an understanding between Esparza and his lawyer that if a warrant was issued, he’d turn himself in,” Richardson said. “When it was issued, we found out he had run.”

Richardson said he was uncertain whether Esparza will face additional charges for fleeing.

“The Madison County Sheriff’s Department appreciates the assistance from the U.S. Marshals in this case,” Richardson said. “Without their help, it would’ve taken even longer to get Esparza.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @J4keSteel on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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