Child abuser arrested after 18 YEARS on the run when she tried to arrange funeral for husband and accomplice

Victoria Cravitz was apprehended after tried to have a funeral for husband Leon Shaw using one of his wanted aliases

                            Child abuser arrested after 18 YEARS on the run when she tried to arrange funeral for husband and accomplice
(Source:Getty Images)

A couple accused of sexually abusing children were finally tracked down, 18 years after being on the run from authorities.

Leon Shaw and his wife Victoria Cravitz fled their Oregon homes in 2000 after being accused of sexually abusing four children, including Victoria's daughter.

Victoria was arrested in Mississippi on Wednesday (July 25) after Leon died of an infection in a hospital. Her location was tracked down by the police after she used one of Leon's wanted aliases to try and arrange his funeral. She is now being taken to Oregon where she was previously charged with three counts of first-degree rape and one count of first-degree sodomy. If convicted, Victoria is expected to spend the rest of her life in prison. 

Victoria from an updated mugshot (FBI)

Police were first alerted to Leon and Victoria in 2000 after three people contacted the police claiming they were abused by the couple. The three told the police at that time that they were worried about the three children under the care of the accused couple as they believed the same act would be performed on them.

Police subsequently accused Leon and Victoria of abusing four girls aged between six and 17 between 1989 and 1999.

According to the officers, the couple forced two 10-year-olds to have sex with each other, while at least on of the children was raped by an adult. One of the victims who came forward stated that she was kidnapped by the couple and was later impregnated by Leon. She was then forced to give birth to his child. 

Even though she managed to run away from the couple and save herself, she was forced to leave her child behind. After hearing the statements of the victim, the police issued a warrant to search their house. However, they got the wind of the news long before the police arrived at their home and they took this moment to leave for California, where Victoria's parents stayed. They were charged in 2000. 

Leon was charged with five counts of first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree sodomy. Unfortunately, the authorities were not able to track the pair down and they remained on the run for 18 long years. At one point the police thought that the couple had moved to Alaska but they did not find the leads that they had hoped for. However, everything fell into place when they found out Leon was taken to a hospital in Washington County, Mississippi, where he died. 

Victoria used one of Leon's aliases to make arrangements for the funeral, but when the undertaker put their data into the system, Leon's details appeared on FBI's most wanted list. The police officers were quickly informed and Victoria was arrested. 

She had been living under the name of Jennifer Larsen. The couple reportedly lived south of Greenville, Mississippi, for about 15 years, Victoria working as a cleaning lady and Leon practising woodworking art. "They had been on the run for a long time. They always lived in rural areas," the district attorney said. "They didn't have a lot of contact with people and they moved constantly."