Fugitive child rapist captured in Norfolk

Eric Hartwell, photo courtesy U.S. Marshals.
Eric Hartwell, photo courtesy U.S. Marshals.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A violent child rapist, who authorities say cut off his GPS monitor to escape a halfway house in Colorado last week, was found in Norfolk Friday.

Andy Mazerik with the U.S. Marshals Service told WAVY.com deputies received information Eric Eugene Hartwell, 51, had arrived in Norfolk on a bus. Deputies were able to track him down to the Motel 6 in the 800 block of  North Military Highway.

Document: Hartwell arrest warrant

Eric Hartwell, photo courtesy Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
Eric Hartwell, photo courtesy Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

Officials say Hartwell refused to open the door and deputies made their way inside. He was taken into custody after a brief struggle, Mazerik said.

According to Colorado’s sex offender registry, Hartwell was convicted of attempted indecent liberties in 1996 and rape of a child in 1991. The U.S. Marshals Service said Hartwell also has numerous convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.

“Sexual predators are despicable, they’re evil,” said United States Marshal, Bobby Mathieson. “But, this guy, Hartwell, takes evil to a whole other level with his prior offenses.”

Hartwell reportedly cut off his GPS ankle monitor and fled the Independence House in Denver Feb. 21. He had been on the run since, traveling more than 1,7000 miles to Norfolk. A federal warrant for probation violation of supervised release was issued by the federal court in Dallas.

Hartwell is described as being a violent sexual offender who preys on young girls.

“We’re just happy we could make it this quickly with him, because he is absolutely a dangerous individual,” said Mathieson.

The Norfolk judge gave Hartwell the option of staying in Norfolk for his preliminary hearings, or returning to North Texas, which is the prosecuting district. Hartwell said he would rather go back to Texas, so arrangements are being made for U.S. Marshals to escort him there.

Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.

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