Oklahoma Authorities Catch Up to Van Buren Man Accused of Sexual Assault

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A volunteer reserve Crawford County deputy wanted on a sexual assault charge was arrested Sunday near Oklahoma City. Authorities say he was headed to California.

Thomas Shawn Nelson, 45, is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl in Van Buren.

Police were called to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith around 1 a.m. Sunday to investigate the alleged sexual assault of a girl. Detectives were able to identify Nelson as the suspect. He is an acquaintance of the victim’s family, according to police.

Officers executed a search warrant at Nelson’s residence but he was not there.

Investigators were able to determine Nelson was possibly headed to California where he has family. Oklahoma authorities later arrested Nelson on Interstate 40 near Oklahoma City. He’s currently being held in the Canadian County Jail. 

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