Fugitive child molester who staged suicide at Golden State Bridge is found alive, hiding in storage unit

A California man believed to have killed himself in 2016 before serving prison time for child sex assault was arrested this week in Florida, according to authorities.

Michael Manning, 58, had pleaded no contest to child sexual assault, possession of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor to engage in the preparation of sexual images. Out on bail, Manning skipped his October 16, 2016, court date and officers located his car and a suicide note a day later near the Golden Gate Bridge, according to Fox News.

While authorities were initially suspicious as they didn’t recover Manning’s body, the Chico Police Department said it was only recently when they noticed a close associate of his was conducting “sophisticated counter-surveillance measures.” Authorities also believed the associate was assisting Manning in his attempt to flee the country, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record.

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Amid their investigation, Chico police reportedly elicited help from the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force and the FBI. Last month, U.S. Marshals received tips indicating that Manning was possibly in Florida, according to the outlet.

Monroe County deputies reportedly apprehended Manning on May 3 when they responded to a burglar alarm at a business near Key West and discovered him living in a storage container next to the property. The Chico Enterprise-Record reported that Manning provided officers with a false name and doctored U.S. passport and U.S. Navy identification card, leading to his arrest.

Upon arriving to jail, Manning’s fingerprints were taken and he was positively identified as the California man who evaded sentencing years earlier.

He remains jailed in Florida as he awaits extradition.

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[Featured image: Michael Manning/Chico Police Department]