FBI’s “Most Wanted Teacher” Arrested and Charged
Eric Justin Toth, a member of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list and a former school teacher, was arrested last week in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Central American nation’s National Police Chief, Aminta Granera, announced the arrest and said that Toth would be deported immediately. According to her, Toth had a fake passport, driver’s license, and credit cards. He’d been in the country from October until January, and then came back, resulting in Nicaraguan police monitoring him (Fox News).
In June of 2008, Toth, 31, lost his job when one of his fellow teachers discovered and reported explicit photos of children on a school camera that Toth had in his possession. Toth was teaching a third grade class at the time in Washington, D.C. He had not been seen by authorities since shortly after his firing when the FBI tailed him across the Midwest, specifically Indiana and Illinois, and out west to Arizona, where they lost track of him.
Brought before a court for the first time on Tuesday, April 23, Toth was charged with both the production and possession of child pornography. BBC News says that one of the offenses Toth is accused of is placing a camera in a boys’ bathroom, presumably the same camera that the other teacher discovered, leading to Toth’s firing and run from the authorities.
Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary, the school Toth taught at, released a statement shortly after his arrest. “We commend the work of the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI,” it read. “They have been tenacious and resolute in their quest to bring this case to justice.”
Everyone involved is glad to see Toth brought to justice after five years of searching, and it’s believed that a tip was what initially led Nicaraguan police to investigate Toth under the false identity he was using while living there. Toth had become a part of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list in April of last year, a list usually comprised of serial killers, terrorists, and other high-profile targets, because the FBI said they had no leads or ideas how to find Toth and bring him in. The FBI described him as someone with “above average knowledge regarding computers, the use of the Internet, and security awareness” (BBC News), all of which might have helped him steer clear of the FBI and other forces searching for him during his five year run from the law.