OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Authorities say a decomposing body found in a South Carolina home nearly two weeks ago was identified as a fugitive on the U.S. Marshals 15 most wanted list.
On Nov. 6, a concerned neighbor checked on the welfare of an elderly man who had not been seen in weeks. The U.S. Marshal Service said the neighbor found a decomposing body and called authorities.
Investigators say the body was identified as Frederick Cecil McLean, 70, a person on the U.S. Marshals Top 15 Most Wanted list and fugitie on the run for more than 16 years.
McLean was wanted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in California on multiple counts of sexual assault on a child and was deemed a high risk for sexually assaulting young girls. One alleged victim, now an adult, said McLean assaulted her more than 100 times from the time she was five and ending about seven years later, Marshals said.
An arrest warrant was issued for McLean in 2005 and he was added to the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in 2006.
McLean allegedly lived in the South Carolina home where his body was found for 15 years and went by the alias “James Fitzgerald.”
“The discovery of Frederick McLean’s body marks an end to the manhunt, but the investigation continues,” U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis said. “I want to personally thank the men and women of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Oconee County Coroner’s Office who dedicated hundreds of man-hours helping the Marshals identify the body and gather evidence allowing us to gain a better picture of McLean’s life as a fugitive.”
On Nov. 15, an autopsy was conducted, and a fingerprint was obtained and compared to the known fingerprints on file for McLean. A positive identification was confirmed and no foul play was suspected in his death.
“We wish McLean’s fate had been determined by a court of law 15 years ago,” U.S. Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California said. “The investigators working on this case never gave up. We hope McLean’s death brings some sense of closure for the victims and their families, especially knowing he can never hurt another child.”
The U.S. Marshals and local authorities continue to investigate the case to determine if McLean received any help to avoid capture.
“During his years on the run, McLean used numerous aliases and also lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Anderson, South Carolina,” Stafford said. “Because of his alleged crimes, we are concerned there may be other victims out there.”
Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals Service office, or local law enforcement authority.