Nicaraguan police said Toth entered the country Oct. 24 using a fake passport. Anna Graham, an English teacher from Canada, said she met him shortly after at a Managua hotel nestled among palm trees and tropical flowers.
During a small gathering of expatriates one night, he introduced himself as Robert Shaw Walker and said he had come to Nicaragua to write. He said he was headed to the city of Esteli, a destination Graham thought was odd because it was not particularly popular with tourists.
They went to several movies together in the coming weeks, and nothing seemed amiss. But Graham would make a decision she would come to regret: She invited the man the FBI calls a “child predator” to fill in for her once at a Managua tutoring center.
“He seemed cool,” Graham said. “In retrospect, I feel really bad.”
After Toth’s arrest, Graham alerted the director of the center about his past.
By early April, Toth had been on the run for about five years. Authorities had nearly caught him after he was recognized in Phoenix in 2009, but he remained undercover by shifting identities and locations. Authorities had not publicly acknowledged any other sightings in three years.
But one serendipitous tip would crack open the case.
FBI officials said a tourist who met Toth at a social engagement April 18 recognized him and alerted authorities. Two days later, Nicaraguan authorities surrounded an orange brick home and removed Toth in handcuffs.
Nicaraguan police said they found no evidence of Nicaraguan victims on a computer Toth had with him. Among his possessions, they said, were documents for three or four people they think Toth planned to use as aliases. He also had a fake passport.
The FBI would not comment on the status of the investigation. But after Toth’s capture, Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District, said authorities “assume there are potential other victims.”
Nicaraguan authorities discovered one other item on Toth: a box of eye patches they said he apparently used to conceal a distinct mole under his left eye. It was one of the few aspects of his identity that he hadn’t reworked over the years.
“It just blew our minds to find out who he was,” said Berg, the director of the Phoenix homeless program. “He did a great job at hiding and presenting a different side of himself.”
Allison Klein, Luz Lazo and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.