A two-year, two-continent saga ended this month with a man in jail after police say he may have faked his disappearance on a dangerous California beach to avoid going to penitentiary for rape halfway around the sector.
Out on bail for 24 charges, including sexual offenses against teenagers and rape, Kim Avis of Inverness, Scotland, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Feb. 16, 2019, before he and his 17-year-venerable son drove north to Monterey Bay in a rental car. 9 days later, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Place of work obtained a call from the teenager, saying his father had long past swimming and never made it back.
Nicknamed “mortuary beach” for its treacherous waters and steep drops, Monastery Beach sees about a dozen rescue missions each year, the Monterey Herald reported.
“I don’t know if he picked the beach for a reason, or if it was legal tiresome success,” said Chief Deputy John Thornburg. “However it’s the fair beach, at the same time as you understand what I mean — if that’s really what his goal was.”
For three days, emergency responders and the Coast Guard searched for Avis with a drone, a helicopter and divers. Nevertheless, an interview with Avis’s son was the foundation of the sage’s unraveling, Thornburg said.
When the son called 911, the Press and Journal reported, the teenager said that the two had been camping in the Monastery Beach area, and that Avis went for “a bit of a swim” after dark.
Authorities puzzled Avis’s son, who may no longer recall crucial details — for instance, how the two had traveled about 300 miles from Los Angeles to Monterey County, or the place his father had disappeared into the water. The teenager’s minimal packing and lack of suitable instruments for camping also raised distress, police said.
“In case you were to head to someplace for a week, you may perchance take a week’s value of stuff,” Thornburg said. “There was one backpack with a few odds and ends in it, no longer something that would reveal that anyone was a lawful vacationer who happened to advance back to Carmel Valley, Monterey County, want to head for a swim and legal happen to grasp the faulty beach.”
The final twist in the investigation came two weeks later, Thornburg said, when police obtained a call from across the Atlantic.
“We were notified by the of us in Scotland that he was wanted there,” he said. “So when we reached out to Scotland, and they confirmed he was wanted, we realized he had a motive to fake a disappearance.”
Scottish authorities had issued a warrant for Avis’s arrest after he did no longer appear at his March 11, 2019, pretrial hearing, according to a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The investigation was then turned to the U.S. Marshals Service, which is tasked with apprehending foreign fugitives.
For months, investigators searched for Avis, following alleged sightings of the man correct during the area, but they’d gain him 1,300 miles away after he was spotted in a Colorado Springs motel on July 26, 2019.
Three days before Avis’s arrest, a particular person advised a Colorado Springs Police Department officer about anyone who “had given a false name and had been acting suspicious,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in an email. The resident also equipped a picture of a man who match Avis’s description.
The Scot admitted to the usage of disguises when in public and constantly sound asleep in varied locations to elude authorities. Avis also advised officers that he had traveled to more than 10 states in the western and southern United States and had hidden in the mountains exterior Colorado Springs, according to the Marshals Service.
Avis was extradited to Scotland on Sept. 6, 2019 — seven months after his disappearance.
Once Avis was in Scotland, his trial persisted to loom as the coronavirus pandemic took sustain of the sector. In June 2020, he was denied bail by Judge Valerie Stacey after prosecutors argued that Avis’s “failure to appear in courtroom was deliberate,” the Ross-shire Journal reported.
Lorenzo Alonzi, Avis’s attorney, declined The Washington Post’s requests for comment, then again, he advised the High Court in Glasgow that his client was unable to attend his March 11, 2019, hearing after being swept away by the waters of Monastery Beach.
“He has already been on remand for almost a year and since March has spent 22-and-a-half hours each day locked in his cell,” Alonzi said, according to the Ross-shire Journal. “It was always his way to appear for courtroom. He traveled to the States for a holiday and was animated in a distressing incident.”
It may well take another year for Avis to be convicted of raping three females — one among them when she was 12, according to courtroom paperwork — and sexually assaulting an 11-year-venerable woman.
Avis was sentenced on June 11 to 12 years in penitentiary for his sexual crimes and three years for no longer appearing in courtroom in March 2019.
He denied the charges, likening prosecutor Graeme Jessop’s listing of his crimes to “reading a film script.” He added that “it is far unfounded. It is far disgusting,” the BBC reported.
Fraser Gibson, a prosecutor in Scotland, said Avis “went to great lengths to evade justice for his crimes,” the BBC reported this month. “Thanks to the efforts of police and prosecutors, working along with U.S. law enforcement, he has been dropped at justice.”
Quickly after Avis was declared missing in California, Monterey County’s baby holding products and services helped his son return to Scotland, authorities said. The teenager was no longer charged with submitting a false document after calling 911 to negate of Avis’s disappearance.
His father, he had said in the 911 call, was an experienced swimmer who once crossed Loch Ness for charity.