Investigator Says US Army Fugitive Won’t Escape

The chief investigator at the Ministry of Interior’s department of immigration on Sunday vowed that a U.S. Army deserter wanted for child sex crimes who is at large in Cambodia would not be allowed to escape the country.

Michael Harris, 34—a staff sergeant who was placed on the U.S. Army’s 20 most wanted list after fleeing his home country to avoid 44 charges of possession of child pornography and allegations of child rape—entered Cambodia in January. He had been working as a dog trainer in Sihanoukville under the alias Michael Dobbs until Wednesday, when he disappeared.

“He cannot escape Cambodia because we have announced his identity and called for his arrest in all provinces and at all border checkpoints,” said Uk Heisela, chief investigator at the Ministry of Interior’s immigration department.

Mr. Heisela said it was only a matter of time before the fugitive was apprehended.

“We have some clues about the suspect’s whereabouts, but I can not share information about the investigation that would make him run away,” Mr. Heisela said, adding that “the suspect would only be able to hide in provinces that are popular among tourists, such as Kampot, Koh Kong, Kep, Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap.”

Mr. Harris skipped bail in Orlando, Florida, where he was facing the charges against him, and landed at Phnom Penh International Airport on January 17, Arizona news channel CBS5 reported on October 11.

His ex-wife, former Kentucky police officer Denise Diaz, who claims that her children are two of his victims, has offered a $2,000 reward to anyone who brings him to the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh—“dead or alive.”

The U.S. Embassy has declined to comment on the case.

odom@cambodiadaily.com

© 2014, All rights reserved.