March 25, 2015 - 12:31 PM
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man who vanished in 1980 under accusations he raped a disabled girl has been deported back to the province from the United States to face trial.
Raymond MacLeod, 72, was turned over to authorities in Vancouver on Tuesday by American immigration officials after 17 months of legal wrangling that concluded in a final order of removal.
The former Prince George resident was 32 years old at the time of the alleged 1974 incident involving a five-year-old girl with cerebral palsy.
He faces charges dating back those 40 years, including rape and assault. A new charge of obstruction of justice has also been approved by the Crown.
"It's a big win," said RCMP Cpl. Craig Douglass, spokesman for the Prince George detachment.
"That first investigator that went to the scene, I'm sure when he or she hears about this, it's probably going to stir up some memories. You remember those ones."
MacLeod was arrested in October 2013 by American authorities at a Los Angeles-area trailer park, where he was living under an alias, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.
An immigration judge ordered MacLeod's deportation in March 2014. He appealed the decision, but two appeal panels ultimately agreed with the original ruling.
Police allege the offences took place at a home in the northern B.C. city. Douglass said officers don't have evidence the crimes were the result of a break-in or random attack, but details of the actual allegations will be revealed in court.
MacLeod was initially tried and found not guilty of the charges, but a new trial was ordered after the Crown won an appeal. In June 1979 he was arrested in Burlington, Ont., on an unrelated charge and served with documents ordering him to appear in court to face the rape and assault allegations.
He never showed up. A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued in 1980, but by then the man had disappeared.
MacLeod is scheduled for his first court appearance on Friday.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015