TAUNTON (CBS) – A 61-year-old Bridgewater man who fled the state 16 years ago was arrested August 2 in Maine and faces charges in two previously unsolved rapes and is linked to two more.
“This is an important step in obtaining justice and closure,” said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.
Ivan Keith was finally found living in a remote cabin under an alias, and allegedly bragged to arresting officers. “He thought he had been on the run and able to evade police longer than Whitey Bulger,” said deputy district attorney William McCauley. “I get it my time is up,” he allegedly said.
Keith is a level three sex offender who failed to register preventing the state from obtaining a DNA sample. He faces a laundry list of charges for an assault on a 36-year-old woman in Taunton in July of 1997, and a 47-year-old woman in Easton in November of 1998.
Investigators now believe they have also linked him to similar crimes in Bridgewater and Quincy in 1996. Investigators say there was a challenge identifying the predator because he wore a mask and gloves during the attacks. They also say he used shoe laces to bind his victims.
Advances in genetic genealogy were the key. Investigators first tracked his family and then determined Keith was the one with cases of open and gross lewdness and the rape of a relative already on his record.
They say he disappeared 16 years ago as he was about to face trial for charges of flashing college students from Bridgewater State University. Prosecutors say he told relatives why he was fleeing. “They want my DNA, I did some bad things. If they get my DNA I’ll do 80 years.”
Prosecutors say they did extract and confirm his DNA from a vaping pipe Keith had on him at the time of his arrest. “I’m ecstatic to be standing here today with cases over 20 years old that are brutal,” said Quinn.
Keith is being held without bail pending dangerousness hearing August 21.