Anderson: Sarasota fugitive still running, only now the chase is on to catch him – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Chris Anderson|Sarasota Herald-Tribune

John Pyle, fugitive, is out there somewhere, maybe in Central America working as a handyman in a beach town, entrenched, perhaps, but prepared to run should the shadow of the bounty hunter ever grow near.

Rolando Bentancourt, bounty hunter, remains fixated on Pyles capture, and as soon as the pandemic subsides he will travel, likely to Nicaragua, because thats where he believes Pyle is living and darned if the accused pedophile is slipping through his fingers again.

I want to get this guy, Bentancourt said. It needs to be done.

Anyone remember Pyle? Hes the Sarasota resident with the prospectors mustache who ran across the United States yes, ran, 3,273 miles, from California to Key West while carrying the American Flag as a way to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project in 2012.

But our hero, it turned out, had a bit of a dark side, becausein 2016 detectives found 31 images of child pornography on his laptop, with 15 additional images containing sexual misconduct and two images of child pornography involving bondage, one of which involved a 1-year-old girl, according to his arrest report. He was looking at 450 years in prison.

He posted a $90,000 bond and became a fugitive after not showing up for a court hearing on Oct. 23, 2017. Next thing anyone knew, he had boarded a Carnival cruise ship out of Tampa, disembarked in Cozumel, Mexico and never returned to his seat at the midnight buffet.

As part of his bond agreement, Pyle was forced to surrender his passport, but since cruise ships do not require passports Pyle had a floating escape vehicle at his disposal one complete with shuffleboard courts and sunshine decks.

Since it was believed Pyle had escaped to Mexico, the State Attorneys Office was in no hurry to spend money and resources to bring him back, which didnt sit particularly well with the folks at A Way Out Bail Bonds in Punta Gorda. So they hired Bentancourt to find him.

Betancourt, a bounty hunter since 1986 and based in Miami, studied Pyles profile and then came to Sarasota for interviews and surveillance before he began chasing Pyle two years ago. Using information from personal sources, and tracking him on a device, Betancourt located Pyle in Apodoco, Nuevo Leon, Mexico,an industrial town 1,580 miles north of Cozumel.

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Betancourt said he was actually within a few blocks of Pyle but could not arrest him because of a warrant snafu. There was also a government shutdown at the time, Betancourt said, so he had to let him go. Then the trail grew cold.

He said he remains confident he will capture him, and has some new stuff I have developed that I could pinpoint him with and locate where hes at.

Betancourt thinks Pyle is likely in Nicaragua, hiding in a beach town with an influx of European tourists. Pyle had a light complexion and would attempt to blend in.

The chase has become personal for Betancourt, who said he will not get paid for the pursuit and arrest of Pyle because toomuch time has passed. He doesnt care about the money. Hes determined to capture the ghost.

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When I spend time on a case I dont like to forget about them and this is one of my cases Im going to solve, he said.

How could anyone recognize Pyle now? Well, he long ago shaved the prospectors mustache he was famous for, but he maystill havea tattoo that reads:

Success requires relentless forward progress.

The words were meant as inspiration for Pyle to keep running.

But they work just as well for those in pursuit.

Contact columnist Chris Anderson at chris.anderson@heraldtribune.com

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Anderson: Sarasota fugitive still running, only now the chase is on to catch him - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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