Bond set at $500k for fugitive arrested on child rape charges

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Bond was set at $500,000 for a 38-year-old child rape suspect, who investigators say has been on the run for eight years and was found hiding in a closet in North Charleston this week.

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division took Juan Manuel Garcia into custody Tuesday afternoon.

Garcia was wanted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Authorities responded to a home on South Oakridge Circle regarding a wanted subject who the sheriff's office says has eluded authorities since 2005. Investigators say they found Garcia hiding in a closet at the home.

An affidavit states between 1998 and 2003, Garcia sexually assaulted a child between the ages of 4 and 9 on several occasions at a home on River Road on Johns Island.

According to authorities, on April 5, 2005, the victim identified Garcia as the man who sexually assaulted her.

One of his neighbors said Garcia was a "friendly guy." When he was told about the allegation, he said he "doesn't believe the charges for one second."

According to his neighbor, five to six cops surrounded the home on South Oakridge Circle Tuesday afternoon.

Garcia's next court appearance is July 26th. He has been instructed to have no communication with the alleged victim.

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