Fugitives with History of Alleged Sex Crimes Captured in Rangeley
Two men, with a history of alleged sex crimes, were taken into custody in Rangeley after living in the woods for several weeks.
Shawn Batchelder was on probation for a 2012 rape conviction when he was reported missing in mid August, after failing to report to his probation officer. Police believed he was traveling with Steven Peterson, who was out on bail for gross sexual assault charges in York County. A manhunt has been ongoing in the Rangeley area.
Just before 6:00 Thursday evening, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office learned of two men walking on the Bemis Road in Rangeley Plantation that fit the descriptions of Peterson and Batchelder. Officials say a man and woman were driving south on the Bemis Road when the two men flagged them down and asked for help. When the couple realized they were the fugitives they drove off and called Franklin Dispatch.
The next report came just before 7:30, when a homeowner on the Bemis Road told authorities the men were inside their garage, trying to make a phone call to someone in Portland. Several law enforcement agencies responded and placed the men under arrest, without incident. They were evaluated by North Star ambulance service at the scene of the arrest before being transported to the Franklin Memorial Hospital for a more detailed medical evaluation. Officials say both men were dirty and in need of food, but were cleared by the hospital as being in good health. Both men were then taken to the Franklin County Jail.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says there have been several false sightings over the past few weeks, that have been checked out. Officials say they were quite surprised to find out the men have been living in the woods, since they disappeared. Sheriff's Deputies were aided in this investigation by the Maine State Police, Maine Border Patrol, Maine Warden Service, and an investigator from the Department of Corrections, who have been conducting searches in and around the Rangeley Plantation area since September 18th.