A fugitive accused of sexual assault has been arrested in a different country from where he was wanted after faking his own death from cancer.
Nicholas Rossi, 34, was wanted by a number of agencies over a historical sexual assault case in the US state of Utah from 2008.
Rossi, who used a number of aliases including Arthur Knight and Nicholas Alahverdian, managed to evade authorities for years.
Under one of his aliases he presented as a child welfare advocate in the US state of Rhode Island.
It is not clear when exactly Rossi moved to Rhode Island, but news reports showed him speaking with news station WPRI 12 under the alias Nicholas Alahverdian in Rhode Island in 2011.
He was an outspoken critic of the state’s use of out-of-state facilities for children under the care of its Department of Children, Youth and Families.
He testified before state lawmakers about being sexually abused and tortured while he was shuffled from temporary shelters in Rhode Island to residential facilities in Florida and Nebraska.
“It’s an inhumane approach to a human problem,” Rossi told The Associated Press in 2011.
“We have the ability to provide for them here. And we’re spending all this money to ship them across the country.”
As Alahverdian, he later sued the state and his alleged abusers in a federal lawsuit that was settled in 2013.
It was also under this alias that Rossi faked his death.
A memorial page, which claims he died on February 29, 2020, from non-Hodgkin lymphoma remembered him as “one of the most vocal, outspoken and constructive advocates for reforming Rhode Island's DCYF (Department of Children Youth and Families) and the child care system” and a “fighter in spirit but a peacemaker in practise".
He also made regular appearances on TV under his alias where he was involved in local politics and criticised the state’s child welfare system.
His remains were said to have been cremated after he died with his wife and two children by his side, according to the memorial page.
Jeffrey Pine told NBC Rossi’s wife had also told him he had died.
Mr Pine had represented Rossi in a trial 2018 and 2019 on charges he had failed to register as a sex offender.
A woman, claiming to be Rossi's wife, continued to dispute allegations he was alive via a Twitter page called Nick Alahverdian Memorial.
"Keep thinking Nick is alive. Spread the word. Because the more people that see what is published here & on our website the better. Sadly though he is gone," she tweeted in February last year.
Rossi identified after being admitted to ICU with Covid
Rossi continued his deception and fled to Scotland. This is where he used his Arthur Knight alias.
As Knight, his time on the run came to a close after he was admitted to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Glasgow. Rossi has coronavirus, NBC reported.
It is not clear exactly how police tracked down Rossi and they could not offer further information in case it exposed investigation tactics.
Police said the hospital was able to identify Rossi after being sent photographs.
His arrest on December 13 last year traces back to the allegations made against him in 2008 which police in Utah said was closed by the lead investigator, but later reopened in 2018 with charges filed against Rossi.
Police said he also fled the US state of Ohio to avoid prosecution. Additionally it was discovered Rossi was wanted for a number of similar incidents in other states in the US.
There are also allegations he was a serial fraudster and owed money.
Rossi allegedly ran up debts of up to US$200,000 by taking out credit cards under his foster father’s name.
Utah police are currently working to have him extradited to the US.
with The Associated Press
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