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Denton child abuse suspect arrested in Thailand

For more than six years Howard Ernest Pritt evaded Denton County sheriff's deputies intent on arresting him on charges of suspicion of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child involving sexual contact.

Earlier this month a tipster led authorities to Nakhon Ratchasimathis in Thailand, about 160 miles northeast of Bangkok, where Pritt, 48, has been holed up. Pritt was scheduled to appear Thursday before a Los Angeles judge, said Tom Reedy, Denton County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

"His passport had run out and he was in Thailand illegally. So there was no trouble getting him out," Reedy said.

Denton County law enforcement officials featured Pritt on their Top Ten Most Wanted List in April, and an initial tip came May 28 through an encrypted email, said Sgt. Roger Griggs, Denton County Crime Stopper program coordinator.

It took nearly three months of electronic conversations with the tipster to locate Pritt and get him on a jet headed for the United States, Griggs said. The tipster has already received his $1,000 reward, Griggs said.

"All this is thanks to the World Wide Web," Griggs said.

The offenses Pritt is accused of occurred between Dec. 1, 1999, and Feb. 1, 2000, and involved a girl 13 or younger, Reedy said. Pritt was indicted Jan. 24, 2002, with bail set at $50,000, according to court records. Bail may be more expensive for Pritt now that he is a flight risk, according to authorities.

"He will probably be facing some additional charges since he left the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution," Reedy said.