Weatherford Democrat

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April 18, 2011

Suspect found after he eludes sheriff deputies

PARKER COUNTY — Weatherford-Parker County Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) members and United States Marshals arrested a wanted felon in Dallas early Thursday morning, April 14, after a two-day man hunt.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler notified the media Friday that the search began two days prior on Tuesday, April 12. The sheriff said Wendell Xavier Watkins, 28, fled from deputies on foot while investigating a suspicious persons call around midnight at a closed convenience store in Springtown near East Highway 199 and Newsom Mound Road. Deputies attempted to detain Watkins during the investigation but he fled into a wooded area, Fowler said.

Watkins, originally from Ohio, had an outstanding warrant for aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon related to a home invasion issued out of Columbus, Ohio, and is currently on the Ohio Most Wanted list with a lengthy previous criminal history.

About 15 sheriff’s deputies, FAST members and U.S. Marshals conducted an investigation which led them to Dallas, where Watkins was discovered. Watkins was found at a business warehouse with known associates near downtown Dallas.

Once located and identified, Watkins again attempted to flee, Fowler said, but was quickly apprehended. He was taken into custody, transported to the Parker County Jail and also charged with evading arrest detention.

As of Friday morning, Watkins remained in custody. His bond for the evading arrest detention charge was set at $2,500.

Columbus, Ohio, officials have requested a no bond be placed on Watkins’ outstanding warrant charge and have told Parker County that they will extradite him.

Fowler said dozens of criminals have been captured since the inception of the FAST unit in October 2007. An agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service was made later that same year.

“We are obviously proud of the work and dedication of our deputies and marshals,” Fowler said. “This particular suspect has been wanted since March 2010.”

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