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Accused child molester who targeted single mothers to meet kids under 10 years old arrested after 2 years on the run


David Paul Wilson, 41, is accused of molesting several children in San Luis Obispo County, California. An arrest warrant was issued in 2021 and he was arrested near Helena, Montana after two years on the run. (San Luis Obispo County Jail)

An accused child molester in California who would meet single mothers to prey upon his young victims was arrested after two years on the lam, according to authorities.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in southern California said Monday that David Paul Wilson, 41, was arrested near Helena, Montana, which is about 1,300 miles away from where he’s accused of molesting several children, including some younger than 10. He’s facing 19 charges, including sexual acts with a child under the age of 10, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, and lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. Investigators believe the abuse occurred over several years, Tony Cipolla, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s public information officer, said in a press release.

The investigation began in February 2021 when deputies received a report of a sexual assault of a juvenile. Detectives found other victims through a detailed investigation and “immediately identified” Wilson as a suspect. Wilson was described as someone who “repeatedly finds relationships with single mothers,” and there may be more victims who have not yet come forward, Cipolla said.

A warrant was issued on April 29, 2021, but Wilson fled the area before he was arrested, Cipolla said.

Detectives believed Wilson, who was known to be transient and had family members in southern San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, was hiding from law enforcement after the warrant was issued.

But after more than two years, Wilson’s life on the run would come to an end. On July 28, investigators were alerted that Wilson was living in the Helena area.

“Various details about the subject were obtained which confirmed the subject was Wilson,” Cipolla said.

Wilson was arrested by the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office on July 30 and was extradited to the San Luis Obispo County Jail on Thursday. He has a bond set at $6 million.

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