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Molestation suspect arrested after 18 years

July 17, 2012 |  4:47 pm

Jeff ParishFBI agents and Guatemalan police have arrested a suspect in an 18-year-old child-molestation case who was living under an assumed name in a small mountain town, Santa Barbara authorities said Tuesday.

Jeffrey Reed Parish, 65, was living in Panajachel, 90 miles from Guatemala City, and going by the name of Blake, according to a news release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Parish had been charged in connection with the 1994 molestation of a 4-year-old girl who lived across the street from him in Carpinteria when he fled. In a letter to his wife, he said he would never come back. Officials believed he was in Mexico, where he had spent some time.  

The department re-examined his case and in June 2011 distributed an "age-enhanced" portrait of Parish based on a jail mug shot taken in 1994. With new information, the trail led to Guatemala, where he was apprehended without incident.

Parish, a U.S. citizen, was deported by Guatemalan authorities and brought back to the United States on Saturday, according to the Sheriff's Department. He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail. No bail was set, authorities said. Sheriff's detectives said they believe he may have molested others and urged anyone with information to call them at (805) 681-4150.

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---Steve Chawkins

Photo: Jeffrey Reed Parish was arrested in Panajachel, Guatemala, by FBI agents and Guatemalan authorities In June last year. Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

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