U.S. Marshals: Escaped child rapist not in custody

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Adrian Cruz By Catherine Holland Adrian Cruz By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A convicted child rapist thought to have been recaptured is still on the run.

U.S. Marshals received a tip Monday night that Adrian Cruz, who walked out of Maricopa County Superior Court last February, might have been in custody in Mexico. That tip, however, did not pan out. The U.S. Marshals Office confirmed to 3TV Tuesday morning that Cruz is not in custody as previously reported by 3TV and other media outlets.

Cruz, a former ice-cream truck driver, was convicted five years ago of raping and impregnating his girlfriend's 9-year-old daughter. He was already serving a life sentence and was on trial for two additional rapes when he escaped last year.

"He has nothing to lose," said Doug Matteson of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in August, several months into the manhunt for Cruz.

Surveillance video caught Cruz on tape as he walked out of a holding cell at the county courthouse during a lunch break on Feb. 17, 2009. He apparently slipped out of his cuffs and then managed to elude the deputies who were supposed to be guarding him.

Cruz' escape became a huge embarrassment for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

After Cruz escaped, investigators believed he spent some time trying to get work in the Valley as a day laborer. It's believed that he eventually made his way to Mexico.

In August, Maricopa County Superior Court hired a consulting firm to look into Cruz' escape and figure out exactly how it happened.