BRIDGMAN — A week after being the subject of an episode of “In Pursuit With John Walsh,” a fugitive from Bridgman has been captured.
Michigan State Police announced Wednesday, Feb. 5, that William Troy Stanson, 53, wanted by state police and Bridgman police, was captured in northwestern Mexico by Mexican authorities, Guardia Eststal de Seguridad of Baja, Calif.
“We would like to thank everyone who worked on this successful capture, including the FBI, Michigan State Police and the ‘In Pursuit’ TV show,” said Bridgman Police Chief Daniel Unruh. “It’s great to have such close working relationships with local, state and federal agencies to bring something like this to a safe and happy ending.”
Bridgman police Sgt. Tom LaVanway was interviewed for the episode of “In Pursuit With John Walsh” which aired Jan. 29 on the Investigation Discovery TV network.
“I know Sgt. LaVanway being featured on the show and telling the story truly prompted the tips that led to Stanson’s apprehension. Hopefully this brings some closure to the families and victims,” Unruh said Wednesday.
State police said tips came in hours after the show aired and led directly to Stanson’s location and his arrest. A spokeswoman from Investigation Discovery’s “In Pursuit With John Walsh” confirmed that is was a viewer’s tip that led police to Stanson.
“The arrest signifies the great cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico,” State Police Lt. DuWayne Robinson said in a news release. He said Stanson has been extradited to the United States and will be transported to Berrien County, where is he expected to face charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and failure to appear for sentencing on an original charge of accosting a minor.
Unruh said Bridgman police investigated accusations against Stanson in 2014 and he was charged with two counts of accosting a minor for immoral purposes and four counts of furnishing alcohol to minors. The charges stemmed from him allegedly having relatives and their younger friends over to his house, where he allowed them to drink alcohol and had inappropriate relations with them, Unruh said.
In June 2015, Stanson pleaded no contest to one count of accosting minors for immoral purposes, posted bond and was released from jail pending sentencing.
According to police, he failed to show up to court for sentencing in August 2015 and had not been located since. State police investigated Stanson in July 2015 while he was out on bond, and warrants were issued for his arrest charging him with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The trail went cold and until the TV show aired, police had received no tips or information regarding his whereabouts, other than that he had sold his vehicle in Arizona shortly after he failed to show up for sentencing in Berrien County in 2015.