OBSERVER Staff Report
A fugitive convicted of sex offenses has been captured in Arizona after a month-long search.
Paul Turley, 47, of Dunkirk, failed to reappear in Niagara County court after lunch during jury selection on Jan. 23. It is alleged Turley had inappropriate contact with two young females between 1996 and 1998 in the town of North Tonawanda.
"He is looking at around 40 years or more for raping his stepdaughters in the 90s. He is looking at a lot of time and that is why he ran," Supervisory Deputy Daniel Larish with the U.S. Marshal's Office told the OBSERVER.
Both Turley and his wife Diane have been missing since the court appearance, but were found together Friday at the mobile home of a former Western New York resident and will soon be extradited. Turley was convicted in absentia of first-degree sexual abuse and first- and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.
Larish said the Niagara County Sheriff's Department was among agencies searching for Turley.
"The Niagara County Sheriff's Office is part of a taskforce with the U.S. Marshals ... so when Turley failed to reappear in court, the sheriffs went to track him down, and that is our specialty, so we also responded to track Paul and Diane Turley through various states," he said.
According to Larish, marshals were on the Turleys' trail through Michigan, Wisconsin and New Mexico until finally being caught in Arizona on Friday afternoon.
"The department in Arizona made the arrest at a mobile home near Tucson ... based on the investigation there were people in the area who were acquaintances from the Western New York area. The wives were friends," Larish said.
"Investigative leads and boots-to-the-ground work is what led to Turley's arrest," Larish stated.
Larish said Diane Turley was charged with obstruction of justice, a felony, after the district attorney in Niagara County learned she had absconded with her husband.
He said both were taken to court in Arizona and remanded to jail without bail.
Turley will be extradited by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in the next few weeks, according to Larish. He was unsure if Turley's wife would also be extradited back to New York. Turley will face sentencing on April 19.
At the time of his disappearance, Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Donatello said Turley's last known address is listed as Lincoln Avenue in Dunkirk. She said he previously lived in Cassadaga and has family in Lily Dale and in Dunkirk.