Police locate molest suspect: Man wanted for local case found in Tennessee

FORTVILLE — A man who police say fled Hancock County after a local girl accused him of sexual assault was arrested over the weekend in Tennessee, officials said.

Sheriff’s deputies in Bledsoe County, Tennessee — about 50 miles north of Chattanooga – arrested Samual Cravens, 38, of Fortville, Sunday, officials said. He is being held in the Bledsoe County Jail awaiting transfer to Hancock County.

Cravens faces two Level 1 felony counts of child molest and one Level 4 felony count of child molest, records show.

Prosecutors filed charges against Cravens late last week after a girl came forward and told police the man forced her to have sex with him, according to court records.

Cravens was at the victim’s home when the assault occurred, she told police, according to court documents.

They were sitting on a couch in the home watching television together. Cravens was drinking alcohol, and he tried to get her to drink with him, but she refused, she told police.

The girl said Cravens began acting strangely in the moments before the assault occurred.

She told police she didn’t try to fight the man as he harmed her; she lay there “with her eyes shut and was tearing up,” court documents state.

The girl said Cravens asked her if she was going to tell anyone what happened, court documents state. The girl told Cravens she wouldn’t but called her grandmother to come pick her up, court documents state.

She confided in her grandmother, who immediately called police, court document state

Officers accompanied the girl to a sexual assault treatment center in Madison County to be examined by a nurse there. She and her relatives were interviewed by police, and detectives visited the girl’s home to collect various evidence, including some of Cravens’ clothing, court documents state.

Cravens refused to come to the Fortville Police Department for an interview with detectives and soon after walked away from the job site in Maxwell where he had been working, police said.

Assuming Cravens fled the area, investigators circulated a photograph of the man and for a week asked the public for tips about his whereabouts. Officers thought Cravens might be headed for Montana or Oklahoma because he has ties to those areas.

Cravens was spotted in Muncie a day after the girl came forward to make her report, according to Fortville police officers. A week later, he was found in Tennessee and taken into custody, officials said.

Once Cravens is booked into the Hancock County Jail, he will be held there on a $25,000 cash bond, according to prosecutors.

The Level 1 felony counts he faces each carry a maximum penalty of 40 years. The Level 4 felony count he faces carries a maximum penalty of 12 years.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.