A man who spent nearly two decades on the run after being arrested in connection with molesting girls as young as 6 has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Julio Alberto Anaya, 49, was sentenced in a Ventura County courtroom on Thursday after pleading guilty to felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14, according to a news release from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. He was also ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution to the victims and ordered to register as a sex offender.
Anaya was arrested in December 1999 on suspicion of molesting five girls between 6 and 11 years old, authorities said.
He became a fugitive the next year after posting bail and failing to appear in court.
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In 2018, detectives learned that he had fled to his native country of El Salvador, but returned to the United States and was living in Maryland under a different name and date of birth, authorities said.
Detectives in Southern California contacted the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, where Anaya was arrested and later extradited to Ventura County.