ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona sex abuse suspect arrested after hiding in desert for months

Mar 19, 2021, 5:30 PM | Updated: Mar 20, 2021, 8:55 am
(Facebook Photo/Pinal County Sheriff's Office)...
(Facebook Photo/Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
(Facebook Photo/Pinal County Sheriff's Office)

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) — A 42-year-old Arizona man sought on sex abuse-related charges was arrested after he spent more than three months hiding in the desert, a sheriff’s office said Thursday.

Deputies aided by Border Patrol agents and state police arrested Marana-area resident David Whitaker on Monday after finding him living in a shack he had constructed, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said.

Whitaker was at large since Nov. 28 when deputies received a report of his alleged sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl. Whitaker had left his home before deputies got there, the office said in a statement.

Deputies immediately began searching and conducting surveillance operations for Whitaker who was described to them as a survivalist who could live off the grid, the office said.

In March, a state Department of Public Safety detective obtained information on Whitaker’s possible location and he then was observed through binoculars, the office said.

Law enforcement personnel surrounded the area with the help of a Border Patrol plane, and Whitaker as found in the shack, the office said.

Whitaker survived by catching fish from a nearby canal and hunting javelina and rabbits, the office said.

“We are hopeful his arrest brings the victim and the victim’s family some peace of mind,” Sheriff Mark Lamb said.

Whitaker was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor and indecent exposure, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

He remained in jail Friday. Online court records didn’t show a defense lawyer for Whitaker who could comment on the allegations against him.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., arrives for a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security Committee at th...
KTAR.com

Senate approves Biden’s sweeping Inflation Reduction Act

Arizona senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly praised the Senate's approval of a sweeping inflation and climate change bill.
16 hours ago
(Facebook photo / Phoenix Public Library)...
KTAR.com

​​Century Library to temporarily close for maintenance Aug. 22

The Phoenix Public Library Century Branch will close from Monday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 2 for maintenance.
16 hours ago
(Clayco photo)...
KTAR.com

Real estate firm Clayco breaks ground on industrial development in Mesa

Real estate development and construction firm Clayco this week broke ground on a four-building flex-industrial development in Mesa.
16 hours ago
(Facebook photo / The Saguaros)...
KTAR.com

Scottsdale 20/30 Club rebrands as ‘The Saguaros,’ donates to Phoenix Children’s

The Scottsdale 20/30 Club, an organization that threw fundraisers to help local children's charities, rebranded in July as the "Saguaros."
16 hours ago
(Public domain photo)...
Associated Press

Man sentenced to 24 years in prison for killing Arizona jail officer

A Phoenix man was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his convictions for manslaughter in the 2013 killing of a Maricopa County jail officer.
2 days ago
(Facebook File Photo/Lake Pleasant Regional Park)...
KTAR.com

Deputies search for man last seen swimming in Lake Pleasant

Authorities are searching for a man who went underwater swimming in the Humbug Cove area of Lake Pleasant and did not resurface.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Arizona sex abuse suspect arrested after hiding in desert for months