Tahoe rapist nabbed after 12 years in Phillipines
After eluding authorities for almost 12 years, a 35-year-old South Lake Tahoe man convicted in 1986 of statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl was captured Saturday.
Donald Alan Diehl was met by local FBI agents and Robert Hilton, senior investigator for the El Dorado County District Attorney’s office, at San Francisco International Airport Saturday, as he departed a plane from the Philippines.
Authorities believe Diehl has been residing in the Philippines ever since he fled prosecution in September of 1986.
Diehl was charged with one count of oral copulation and one count of sexual intercourse. He pleaded guilty to both counts in El Dorado County Superior Court. Judge Terrence Finney gave Diehl a two-day pass to get his affairs in order before turning himself in for a review, or 90-day diagnostic, by the California Department of Corrections. After the review the department of corrections would have made a recommendation for sentencing. Diehl was facing a maximum sentence of three years and eight months for the convictions.
Prosecutors asked the FBI for assistance in 1991. Carole Micozzi, FBI spokesperson, said agents located Diehl in the Philippines after a civil lawsuit he was involved in brought him to their attention approximately two years ago. The U.S. government started a request for Diehl’s extradition or deportation, but it wasn’t until 1997 when the U.S. government established an extradition treaty with the Philippines that progress was made, Micozzi said.
The U.S. government revoked Diehl’s passport and the Philippine government deported him. Diehl was booked into the El Dorado County lake jail Saturday on his original charge. Micozzi said he might face additional charges regarding his fugitive status and failure to appear.
Sean O’Brien, El Dorado County chief assistant district attorney, said Diehl’s first court appearance probably will be Friday.
“The treaty with the Philippines resulted in the recovery of several fugitives,” Micozzi said. “The United States doesn’t have extradition treaties with every country, which can sometimes make it difficult. But, even if someone has been out of the country several years we don’t forget.”
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