Marion fugitive wanted for Child Abuse
is dead after standoff in Arizona
MARION, OH – A Marion fugitive wanted on suspicion of child abuse is dead after a standoff with law enforcement in Arizona.
Raymond B. Norton, 33, of Marion, killed himself after U.S. Marshals found him and his wife Tuesday at a campground outside Quartzsite, Ariz., said Lt. Donald Schlecht of the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.
Norton had been on the run from law enforcement for at least a month, said Marion Police Chief Bill Collins. Marion police opened an investigation into Norton after a boy told his school guidance counselor that Norton had been physically and sexually abusing him and other children for several years, according to court records.
U.S. Marshals found Norton’s vehicle and camper Tuesday at La Posa Long Term Visitor Area just south of the small Arizona town of nearly 3,700 people and called for backup from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management, Schlecht said.
Law enforcement officers confirmed that Norton and his wife were inside the camper, Schlecht said, but when they tried to take him into custody, he refused to come out of the trailer and threatened to hurt himself.
Norton’s wife, who came out of the camper, told law enforcement that Norton had a small-caliber handgun and a machete, Schlecht said.
Law enforcement officers were trying to convince Norton to turn himself in for about two hours, Schlecht said, before Norton shot himself once in the head.
Norton was taken to a hospital in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where he died early Wednesday, Schlecht said.
Norton had been indicted in November on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony, in Marion County Common Pleas Court. The charge stemmed from an incident in which Norton was accused of hitting a child’s hand with a hammer, according to an affidavit filed in Marion Municipal Court and signed by Marion Police Detective Nicholas Esterline.
Marion police continued to investigate the more serious allegations against Norton of prolonged sexual abuse of children, Collins said.
But he was released from jail after making bail on Nov. 11, after which police say he fled.
Not long after he was released from jail, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The warrant specified that if Norton was arrested anywhere in the United States, the arresting agency would be required to hold him and notify the Marion Police Department of his arrest.
Prosecutors had planned on pursuing rape charges against Norton, Collins said.
Norton had one criminal conviction on his record in Marion County, according to online court records. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, in Marion Municipal Court.