Frank Montenegro was an elementary school teacher back in 2001 when his world turned upside down as the mother of one of his students went to police and accused the teacher known as “Mr. Monty” of sexually abusing her son. And that only opened a floodgate of accusations against the teacher.
The boy’s mother told police that she had found a new pair of underwear in her young son’s drawer that she had not purchased for him. The boy told her that “Mr. Monty” gave the underwear to him. Later, the boy told his mother that the teacher had raped him.
When police turned up to search Montenegro’s home in Fremont, California, they came across a relative of the accused sex abuser who told them that a different young boy had once been spotted in Frank’s room, naked. Finally, Montenegro’s own brother told police that he had been sexually abused by Frank.
The cops brought Frank Montenegro in for questioning. After hours of interrogation, in which he denied molesting two boys who were students at the elementary school, they asked the teacher if he would be willing to take a polygraph test. Montenegro agreed that he would come back to the police station the next day to be hooked up to the lie detector machine — but instead, he disappeared.
The fifth-grade teacher was charged with several counts of sodomy against a child under 14, oral copulation, and continued sexual abuse of a minor.
His rented Toyota Corolla turned up in La Paz, Mexico, a town on the Baja California peninsula. That was 14 years ago. Frank Montenegro, now 52, had not been seen or heard from since.
Montenegro’s case was even featured on a 2002 episode of the then-popular TV program Unsolved Mysteries, but the broadcast failed to turn up any new leads.
But on Wednesday, all of that changed.
That’s when FBI agents in the Bureau’s Fugitive Task Force — acting on a tip received by the Los Angeles Police Department — tracked Montenegro to what was described as a “community home” in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, about 350 miles south of Fremont, the community he fled 14 years earlier.
Reportedly, Montenegro was living under an alias and had no driver’s license.
Montenegro, according to an account by the Los Angeles Times, did not give up easily. He led the FBI agents on a foot chase, then tried to fight the Task Force agents when they caught up with him, even managing to inflict some minor injuries on the agents.
Now in custody in Los Angeles, authorities plan to transport the accused child molester north to Alameda County, where he will face arraignment.
“This was a very big case at the time,” said Fremont Police Spokesperson Geneva Bosques. “He was very well known within the school district and within our community. The fact that he has now been found and is going to be brought back up here is really great news for us, as well as for his victims.”
The arrest of Frank Montenegro comes just two weeks after United States Marshals caught up with William Balser and Robin Robinson, accused child abusers from Manteca, California, who were on the lam for almost 20 years before finally being apprehended in Utah.
[Images via Fugitive Watch Facebook]