Our network

Ex Manatee Sheriff's Deputy fugitive for 23 years caught | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Ex Manatee Sheriff's Deputy fugitive for 23 years caught

Manatee, Florida -- A former Manatee County sheriff's deputy is jailed in Alaska after being on the run since 1991 when he fled the area amid charges of sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl in the 1970s.

Joseph Keenan May was a deputy from 1988 to 1990, and three years later he appeared on the sheriff's Most Wanted list. Life as a fugitive for 23 years came to an end Friday morning in Anchorage, Alaska.

"The FBI's SWAT team knocked on his door of his home around 6:15 Friday morning and arrested him," says Thomas Bradley, Assistant U.S. State Attorney in Alaska.

Prosecutors say May gave up quietly, the way he lived his life since fleeing Manatee County just before his trial on a capital sexual battery charge.

Read the indictment against May

"I've never had somebody who was on the run for this long for charges this serious," said Bradley. "The fact he was a former law enforcement officer adds a twist to it certainly helped to understand how law enforcement works keep a low profile."

U.S. prosecutors say in 1991 May fled from Manatee County to Alaska and assumed the identity of his dead 15-year-old stepbrother, Michael Brent Camp, including his Social Security number.


"He got a Social Security card before he ever worked, then at age 33 began working full time never missed a quarter. It's a red flag for identity theft," Bradley said.

A tip from the FBI in Tampa led to his arrest on identity theft. Camp had applied for a driver's license and the 60 year old had recently applied for social security benefits.

So how do prosecutors say Joseph May lived his life as Michael Camp?

See the wanted poster issued on May

He was a registered voter since 1999 with no party affiliation. He had hunting and fishing licenses. He was self-employed and ran a computer store until 2007. Camp filed for bankruptcy in 2001. He owns a home in Eagle River in Anchorage and pled no contest to two speeding tickets in 2012 and 2004.

Prosecutors say Camp also has a family in Alaska and an an ex-wife, a 19-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.

Prosecutors say May will likely face weapons charges because the FBI found several guns at his home and in his car. May has an August trial date in Alaska.

The assistant state attorney's office in Manatee County says will be extradited to Florida on the capital sexual battery charge, which could have him face a life sentence.



Manatee County Businesses