Riverco fugitive wanted for sex crimes against children found in Mexico

A 75-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting three girls in San Jacinto and fleeing south of the border prior to a court appearance last year was apprehended in Mexico and extradited back to the United States, authorities said today.

Harry Arlington Durette was captured in Rosarito following an investigation by Riverside County District Attorney's Office personnel and the U.S. Marshals' Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Durette is charged with 65 felony offenses, most of them alleging forcible lewd acts on a child under 14 years old.

No hearings have been set yet in the case since his extradition.

According to a D.A.'s office statement, agency Investigator Mike Riley developed leads that the defendant was holed up in Rosarito and coordinated with the U.S. Marshals and Mexican authorities to nab him on Tuesday.

Durette was immediately returned to the United States and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, where he's being held on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors said Durette was first arrested and charged in August 2020 following a sheriff's investigation that revealed multiple alleged acts of molestation involving an underage girl.

The D.A.'s office said the defendant posted a $55,000 bond, and while free, investigators procured additional information indicating that he had allegedly sexually assaulted two other girls.

"Durette failed to appear on the date of his preliminary hearing in October 2021," according to an agency statement. "A bench warrant was issued and held until Nov. 17, 2021, when he again failed to appear in court. On that date, a $1 million warrant was issued by a judge."

It was unclear whether Durette allegedly made prior arrangements to flee to Rosarito, or did so on impulse after the amended criminal complaint was filed based on the two additional victims.

He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County. If convicted, he could face life in prison.