Fugitive rape suspect from Florida captured by troopers on I-12

James Watkins (Photo source: Louisiana State Police)
James Watkins (Photo source: Louisiana State Police)

Hammond, LA (WLOX) - A convicted sex offender and fugitive rape suspect, who police believe was traveling I-10 headed to Mexico, was arrested Friday afternoon in Louisiana.

James Watkins, 33, of Brooksville, FL, was pulled over on Interstate 12 and subsequently arrested. He's wanted for the suspected sexual battery of a child under 12.

Watkins is a registered sex offender convicted of two previous sexual batteries on children, and was currently on probation in Florida when he fled the state after the alleged rape.

U.S. Marshals discovered that Watkins was traveling on Interstate 10 and suspected that he was making a run for the Mexican border. So they asked state and local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Watkins' 2001 Kia Sephia.

On Friday, Louisiana State Police took positions along I-10 and I-12 to watch for the fugitive. Around 4:30pm, they spotted the car they were looking for on I-12 near the Tangipahoa/Livingston parish line.

Watkins was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Friday night he was awaiting extradition to Florida.

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