The long arm of the law stretched from the Pacific Northwest to Vernon Parish in the state whose motto is Union, Justice and Confidence.

Members of the Kennewick Police Department flew down to Louisiana to bring back a criminal who has been wanted for close to five years.

 

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Back in 2016 a student came forward to an adult the young person trusted to disclose a sibling had recently been sexually abused. Based on the initial report, officials at the school began an investigation and turned over what they found to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Kennewick Police Department for further follow up.

The KPD investigation took a few months to complete and those findings were turned over to the Benton County Prosecutor's Office.

Charges were subsequently filed for the alleged Rape of a Child 1st Degree against Gabriel Valdez. Valdez was 40-years old at the time of charge. When Valdez failed to show up for his court appearance, a nationwide extraditable warrant was issued for his capture and prosecution.

In a Facebook post from KPD today, they are announcing the now 44-year old was arrested on his warrant while driving in Louisiana.

Last week, Sgt. Littrell and Det. McMullen flew to Louisiana and brought Valdez back to Washington to face justice. Valdez was booked into the Benton County Jail where he will remain awaiting his next court appearance.

KPD thanked the Louisiana State Police, the Vernon Parish Prosecutor's Office, and the victim and their family for having the courage to come forward in the first place, then the perseverance to have to endure such a long wait before the perpetrator's re-capture.

To the young people of the Columbia Basin, if you, a family member or a friend are victims of sexual or physical abuse, reach to a teacher you trust, school resource officers or KPD's partners at Support Advocacy & Resource Center to cease the abuse.

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