One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives -- a former D.C. teacher accused of producing and possessing child pornography -- appeared in court in Washington Tuesday afternoon.
Eric Justin Toth has been charged with one count of possessing child pornography and one count of making child pornography. A judge ordered him held without bond until a later hearing.
In court Tuesday, Toth waived his right to a speedy trial, which can pave the way toward plea negotiations, reported News4's Pat Collins.
Toth was found and apprehended in Nicaragua over the weekend, Collins reported. Toth had rented a room in a small town near Managua and was using an assumed name and had a fake passport.
Nicaraguan National Police Chief Aminta Granera said he was deported immediately because he was in the country illegally, the Associated Press reported.
Toth had taught third grade at Beauvoir Elementary School on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral.
On June 12, 2008, Beauvoir sent a letter to parents saying that a teacher was found in possession of a school-owned camera with inappropriate pictures of a boy. Sources told News4 that pictures of at least three other boys being touched inappropriately were on a thumb drive.
At least one of the boys photographed is believed to be a Beauvoir student. According to police, Toth secretly recorded video of a young boy in a school bathroom.
Toth was terminated and escorted off campus and has not been seen in the D.C. area since that day. When he went on the run, he changed his name and his look, authorities said.
Beauvoir released the following statement:
"We were informed by the US Attorney’s Office (Department of Justice) that former teacher Eric Toth has been arrested.
We commend the work of the Office of the US Attorney and the FBI for their ongoing efforts to apprehend Mr. Toth. They have been tenacious and resolute in their quest to bring this case to justice."
FBI agents tracked Toth to his parents’ home in Madison, Wis. Then in August 2008, his car was found in a parking garage at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. A note in the car indicated that Toth was contemplating suicide and that his body would be found in a nearby lake, sources said. But investigators believed that was a ruse, police said, and no body was found.
Toth was indicted on child pornography charges in December 2008.
In June 2009, agents received a tip Toth was living and working at a homeless shelter in Phoenix. But when they got there, he was gone.
He is also believed to have traveled to Virginia, Illinois and Indiana.
Toth first entered Nicaragua Oct. 24 and left Jan. 27, Granera said. He returned on Feb. 12 and that's when Nicaraguan police began keeping a close watch when he returned Feb. 12, the AP reported.
She said he resisted arrest.
Toth has been described as a computer “expert” and is believed to have an above-average understanding of the Internet and Internet security. According to the FBI, he has the ability to blend in to various socioeconomic classes.
Toth worked at Beauvoir for three years. He was known to tutor and babysit Beauvoir students, sources said. He also allegedly spent nights in the homes of young boys.
During their search, the FBI warned that Toth could try to get a job as a tutor, both for money and for new victims.
The FBI said it put Toth on the Ten Most Wanted list in April 2012 because there were no reliable clues as to his whereabouts and because his Internet skills and alleged penchant for grooming children made him especially dangerous.
The FBI offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Toth is originally from Hammond, Ind., and is a graduate of Purdue University.
Safe Shores, the D.C. Children's Advocacy Center is holding a free seminar from 3 to 6 p.m.Tuesday on preventing child sexual abuse. Attendees can preregister by calling 202-645-4437 or emailing email@example.com.
Follow Pat Collins on Twitter at @patcollins4
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