‘In Pursuit With John Walsh’: Police Nab Former Youth Pastor in Mexico After Tip From Viewer
Jeffrey Forrest, a former youth pastor accused of sexually abusing children, was arrested in Mexico on May 7, according to the Abilene Reporter-News. Forrest was profiled on the season 2 premiere of the Investigation Discovery series, which aired January 15.
‘In Pursuit’ traveled to Texas to uncover the truth about Forrest’s crimes
Forrest is a former church daycare worker and youth pastor in Abilene, Texas. He is accused of sexually abusing multiple children in his care. Victims’ right advocate Callahan Walsh traveled to Abilene to learn more about the case, which was featured in the episode “American Nightmare.”
The victims were between the ages of 8 and 15 at the time of the assaults. Investigators believe Forrest used his position as a youth minister at different churches to groom his victims.
Charges were filed against Forrest in 2015 after several victims came forward with their stories. But he fled before his 2016 trial, leading to a four-year manhunt. Authorities believed he had traveled to Mexico. But Forrest was able to hide his whereabouts due to his use of the dark web and communication software such as Tor, which masked his digital footprint.
A viewer’s tip led to the arrest
Forrest’s years on the run came to an end last week. Mexican police found him in a drive-thru store in Zapopan, Jalisco, after a viewer recognized him and contacted the show.
“Forrest’s capture in Mexico is a direct result of information that was developed from a tip that was provided to In Pursuit with John Walsh on Investigation Discovery after the show profiled the case,” noted a U.S. Marshals’ press release. Forrest, 47, was one of the U.S. Marshals’ 15 most wanted fugitives.
Sixteen fugitives featured on In Pursuit With John Walsh are now in custody, according to Investigation Discovery. Five missing children profiled on the series have also been found.
John Walsh wants your help solving crimes
Walsh has been working to bring criminals to justice for decades. After his son Adam was abducted and murdered in 1981, he began advocating for missing children and their families. Eventually, he started hosting America’s Most Wanted, which ran from 1988 to 2012. His newest series is part of his continued efforts to catch “bad guys” with the help of television viewers.
“If at least one child comes home and one homicide is solved, we will have done our job,” Walsh said in a statement when the series was announced in 2018. “Now, with the help the passionate fans at Investigation Discovery and my team, we have a greater chance of catching these bad guys once and for all.”
Viewers who have a tip about a fugitive can submit it on the show’s website or call 1-833-3-PURSUE. All calls and online tips are vetted by experts and followed up on by the appropriate authorities, including local law enforcement, FBI, and the U.S. Marshals, according to Investigation Discovery.
In Pursuit With John Walsh is currently streaming on ID Go.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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