Paedophile suspect arrested after 2-day global hunt
A 59-year-old man has been arrested in New Jersey on Thursday; two days after Interpol launched a global manhunt.9 May 2008
LYON - US immigration agents on Thursday arrested a suspected paedophile just two days after Interpol launched a global hunt for a man who abused Southeast Asian boys, the police agency said.
Wayne Nelson Corliss, 59, was arrested in Union City in New Jersey, Interpol said on its website which showed a photo of a fair-haired, bespectacled man with the word "ARRESTED" stamped across it in large red letters.
"The arrest of the suspected child sex abuser ... came about as a result of independent tips provided via the Internet to Interpol's headquarters in Lyon by three individuals living in the United States," said the site.
The agency in an earlier statement had said the man had confessed to molesting the three Asian boys and sharing pictures of the abuse over the Internet, that he was 57 and that he had been detained late on Wednesday.
Corliss will appear before the US District Court for New Jersey for his initial court appearance, Interpol said without giving a date.
The worldwide police agency said its website had had about 250,000 visits a day - ten times more than usual - since it launched its manhunt, codenamed Operation IDent, on Tuesday when it posted images of the suspect on its site.
The man is accused of distributing hundreds of photos on the Internet of his abuse in 2000 and 2001 of three Southeast Asian boys aged between six and 10.
It was only the second time Interpol had made such a public appeal, following a search named Operation Vico for another suspected paedophile, Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old Canadian who was later arrested in Thailand in October.
Interpol had said Wednesday that its latest appeal produced more than 200 leads - potential names, locations and photos of the suspect - in the first 24 hours.
Thai and Cambodian police were on high alert after the search was launched.
An Interpol official said the photos discovered on the Internet were "typical of paedophiles frequenting sexual tourism hotspots in South Asia, especially Thailand and Cambodia".
The suspected child sex predator featured in approximately 100 images in a series of around 800, which were believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia and depicted the sexual abuse of at least three boys.
The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006.
After receiving the pictures from Norwegian police, Interpol's child exploitation unit at its headquarters in the French city of Lyon circulated the images to its global network of experts to try and identify the man.
It then launched its global appeal.
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble on Thursday praised the rapid response to the appeal, calling it an "outstanding achievement and credit to the citizens, media and law enforcement worldwide who responded".
"Cases like Operation Vico and Operation IDent show us all that keeping our children safe from sexual predators at home in the 21st-century can best be achieved by ensuring that strong local, national and international police institutions cooperate seamlessly across borders and across the digital divide worldwide," he said in a statement.
Christopher Paul Neil, a teacher, was seized in northeast Thailand on 19 October following a worldwide Interpol campaign to track down a man pictured in 200 Internet photos abusing Asian boys.
The suspect's face had been digitally swirled in the pictures, but German computer experts were able to reconstruct the images, which Interpol then posted on its website along with its public appeal.
[APF / Expatica]