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Massachusetts fugitive dubbed Bad Breath Rapist captured in California after 16 years on the run

Police in Northern California on Tuesday helped U.S. Marshals arrest a fugitive wanted in a Massachusetts rape case nearly two decades after he fled that state during his trial, authorities said.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Marshals Service, the man taken into custody was identified as Tuen Kit Lee, who faced trial in the 2005 kidnapping and raping of a young woman at knifepoint in Quincy, Mass. The release said Lee was found guilty in a September 2007 trial, but fled before he was sentenced.

Massachusetts State Police haveoffered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Lee’s arrest and appeared multiple times on the television show “America’s Most Wanted” to discuss the case.

Lee was dubbed the “Bad Breath Rapist” after the media learned one of the pieces of evidence that established Lee as the assailant was his foul breath.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Lee was believed to have fled Massachusetts. His whereabouts were unknown until Massachusetts State Police investigators developed information on the fugitive earlier this year that indicated he was possibly staying in Diablo, a census-designated place in Contra Costa County a couple miles away from the East Bay suburb of Danville.

Investigative leads were sent to the U.S. Marshals Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force (PSWRFTF) in northern California, who worked with the Danville Police Department to determine it was Lee who was living in the area. On Tuesday, officers with the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section (VFAS) and the Quincy Police Department arrested Lee with assistance from the USMS Massachusetts Fugitive Task Force and Danville police.

“Any cold case is very unique. Someone who has been on the run for 17 years has probably gotten pretty comfortable. It’s unique that there hasn’t been additional crimes that maybe we haven’t seen, especially for something as violent as it was,”

Authorities confirmed that Lee was taken into custody near the intersection of Hill Rd. and Diablo Rd., which is close to Green Valley Elementary School.

Massachusetts State Police later confirmed that Lee was taken into custody after a motor vehicle stop conducted by Danville officers. Lee initially provided a fake name, but ultimately confessed when authorities pressed him about his true identity. Police were able to confirm his identity with fingerprints.

“We were constantly told it’s a very tight, close-knit neighborhood. And if there was any kind of police presence that every neighbor would hear about it, and we didn’t want to give up the thoughts it was there,” said Chris Tamayo, senior inspector for U.S. Marshals Service. “This is going to probably be a big shock. Hopefully, it doesn’t cause them any concerns that the fact that someone was hiding here.”

State police noted that the female companion was with at the time of his arrest never knew who he really was despite being together in California for 15 years.

The release noted that the arrest brings closure to the victim and law enforcement officers who have worked to locate Lee for over 16 years.

“There are violent offenders out there who believe they can commit crimes and not be held accountable for their actions,” said acting PSWRFTF commander Chief Inspector Sean LoPiccolo. “Tuen Lee was on the run for more than 16 years and the unwavering dedication by law enforcement to locate and arrest him hopefully brings peace of mind to the victim and her family.”

“I greatly appreciate the work of the Massachusetts State Police Fugitive Unit and the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service who made this arrest possible,” said Quincy Police Department Chief Mark Kennedy said in the release.

Authorities said Lee was booked by Danville police and will be held by that department pending his extradition to Massachusetts.

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