Scottish rape suspect thought to have faked his death in California arrested

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SALINAS, Calif. – A man suspected of faking his death at a California beach to escape 24 rape charges in his home country of Scotland has been arrested in Colorado, authorities said Friday.

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Katy Pallozolo confirmed Friday the arrest of Kim Vincent Avis, 55, who is from the Edinburgh area. Avis, who also went by Ken Gordon-Avis, was arrested in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Avis’ 17-year-old son reported him missing on the evening of Feb. 25 after he went swimming off of Carmel’s Monastery Beach, a picturesque spot that’s also perilous because of deceptively strong currents. Sometimes called “Mortuary Beach” by locals, more than 30 people have died there.

After deputies, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Coast Guard searched the area for three days, they came to the conclusion that something didn’t add up.

“There was a lack of detail,” sheriff’s Capt. John Thornburg said. “The son, who reported it, couldn’t even tell us where he went in under the water.”

Avis’ son also couldn’t easily explain how they got from the Los Angeles International Airport to Monterey County, nor could deputies find any witnesses on the beach who had seen the missing man. 

“Detectives start to look at it more, and find he is wanted in Scotland for 24 counts of rape,” Thornburg said. “When that came up, we start to wonder if this is a hoax, and he’s trying to escape these charges out of Scotland.”

Avis’s son was returned to Scotland with the help of Monterey County Child Protective Services. He did not face charges for filing a false report.

Over the next few months, deputies worked with The U.S. Marshals Service, Interpol, and Scottish authorities to secure an arrest and extradition warrant for Avis. 

Last week, U.S. Marshals were able to track him to Colorado Springs due, in part, to a report in March that Avis was spotted in Monterey County driving a newer white Ford van in the Big Sur area, a post on the sheriff’s Facebook page said Friday.

Avis is being held by U.S. Marshals until his extradition hearing in Colorado Springs, scheduled for later this month.

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