Convicted sex offender faked death, caught in Kissimmee

Willard Wigfield convicted of raping child under 15

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - U.S. Marshals said they caught a convicted child sex offender who faked his death.

The suspect, Willard Wigfield, who was on the run, was caught after someone spotted the fugitive's dog in Osceola County.

Marshals said Wigfield escaped from Ohio and had been living in a resort area in Kissimmee because he wanted to blend in with tourists.

Authorities patrolled and staked out the resort area in the 3100 block of Parkway Boulevard, hoping to track him down.

Marshals finally caught up with the suspect in a swampy wooded area near Interstate 4 after someone spotted a man walking Wigfield's dog. That man lead authorities to Wigfield in a parking lot, where he then ran into nearby woods.

Deputies surrounded the area and sent in a K-9, while a helicopter hunted him from the sky.

Wigfield was convicted of raping a child under the age of 15, and ditched a court sentencing on Monday July 8.

Marshals said he cut off his electronic monitor and threw it in a river, hoping to fake his own death. It is reported that a close family friend helped him escape.

Wigfield is being held in the Osceola County jail with no bond while he awaits extradition to Ohio.

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