VIDEO: Footage from a Nov. 17 press conference during which federal and local law enforcement officials announced that tests had identified the remains of an escaped sex offender in Del Valle.
FROM STAFF REPORTS
DEL VALLE — A man’s skull brought home by a family dog in far southeast Austin more than two months ago has been identified as belonging to a child rapist who ran away from a halfway house last fall, U.S. marshals have confirmed.
In October 2013, two months after a transfer from prison to the Austin Transitional Facility, 40-year-old Kevin Patrick Stoeser escaped through an emergency door when staff members confronted him with images of children allegedly found on his smartphone, law enforcement officials said. Stoeser was serving a 13-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2003 to four counts of child sexual assault and one count of child pornography possession.
During the months he was unaccounted for, authorities put up a $25,000 reward for Stoeser’s arrest and CNN News featured him on an episode of “The Hunt with John Walsh.” Then, on Sept. 8, a runaway yellow Labrador retriever returned to his owners’ front yard bearing a human skull.
“My husband came out and said ‘I think there’s a head out here,’” Del Valle resident Bonnie Vin Klarek told KVUE News, the Austin ABC network affiliate. The Vin Lareks live near the intersection of Falwell Lane and Puebla Drive, about a half-mile across Texas 71 from the halfway house.
Based on DNA testing conducted at the University of North Texas’ forensics laboratory, the Travis County Medical Examiner this month officially ruled that the found skull belonged to the escapee.
“We owe her a box of dog bones,” U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte said of the Vin Lareks’ dog, Carly, at a press conference on Monday.
His official cause of death is listed as undetermined but investigators believe Stoeser may have drowned in the Halloween floods, which doused Central Texas less than a week after the halfway house escape, Austin police told KVUE News.
In 2002, Stoeser was a U.S. Army enlistee stationed at Fort Hood when he was accused of having sex with girls between the ages of 12 and 16 years old. He had already been sent back to prison once after contacting minors electronically while on supervised probation in 2011.Email | Print