CRIME
03/05/2013 12:53 pm ET

Tara Willenborg Murder: Richard Carley Hooten 'Eluded' Police On Outstanding Sex Offender Warrant

The man accused of killing a 17-year-old Indiana girl is a convicted sex offender who "eluded" authorities for months on an outstanding probation violation, the Associated Press reports.

Richard Carley Hooten -- alleged murderer of Clarksville teen Tara Willenborg -- was wanted on warrants for failing to appear in court and properly register as a sex offender.

"He eluded us," Clark County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chuck Adams told the Courier-Journal. "We exhausted all tips in looking for him."

Police said that Hooten, arrested on Sunday, was living across the hall from the apartment that Willenborg and her fiance shared. He was found less than a mile from the scene of the crime, WDRB reports.

On Monday, the suspect appeared in court for the first time since Willenborg's body was discovered.

The News and Tribune reports:

The Office of the Clark County Prosecutor has prepared charges of murder; rape and criminal deviant conduct, both class A felonies; criminal confinement, a class B felony; sexual battery, a class C felony; and strangulation, a class D felony.

Hooten is expected to be officially charged within three days.

Willenborg's best friend spoke with local media about the incident.

"This is just tragic," Ashley Bouchey, Willenborg's best friend, told WAVE. "It's not something that should have happened to a person like her or to anybody." Bouchey grew up with Willenborg and describes her as "amazing," "down to earth," and "loving," according to the station.

A preliminary investigation by the Clark County coroner determined asphyxiation as the primary cause of death, WLKY reports.

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