MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 9, 2013

Molestation suspect arrested in Florida

A Tahlequah man sought by local and federal authorities on felony child molestation charges was arrested in Florida, days after a judge in Cherokee County ordered his bank account frozen.

Roxie Lee Wagers, 71, faces 10 charges in Cherokee County District Court, including nine counts of lewd molestation and one count of attempted solicitation of a minor for indecent exposure.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Investigator James Brown, a special deputy U.S. marshal, said Wagers is jailed in Broward County, Fla., after his arrest by the U.S. Marshal Service on Tuesday.

“We don’t know yet whether he’ll be brought back here or if he’ll fight extradition,” Brown said.

Tahlequah Detective Thomas Donnell, who has been investigating Wagers, said Wagers fled late last year after a case had been opened into the alleged molestation of three girls, dating back as far as 2006.

Authorities in Cherokee County recently received tips that Wagers was staying in a condominium in Hollywood, Fla., a community south of Fort Lauderdale. Investigators gained access to Wagers’ bank account and phone records Tuesday.

They learned Wagers withdrew money from an ATM in November in Davie, Fla., a community near Hollywood, Fla.

Wagers bought an airline ticket to Bogota, Colombia, on New Year’s Eve at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but was unable to make his flight, Brown said. The ticket was purchased hours before the U.S. State Department was able to flag Wagers’ passport, Brown said.

Brown said members of the U.S. Marshal Service Eastern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force contacted the Marshal Service in Florida, and authorities arrested Wagers after a tip provided an address.

Brown said Wagers had $4,000 in cash and a phone when he was arrested.

Court documents show charges against Wagers are based on the alleged molestation of one victim, who was 9 when the incidents began in 2006. But authorities have said charges could later be filed in relation to two other victims.

According to court documents, Wagers sexually molested one girl several times between 2006 and 2012.

Wagers made a confession to one victim’s father, and offered to pay the family $17,000 to keep the allegations secret, Donnell said.

Wagers is also accused of enticing girls to model underwear he had purchased for them, asking them to “put on a show” for him.

Josh Newton writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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