“She was on vacation or other travel, and she met him and realized who he was,” Parlave said, adding that the woman recognized him from media reports.
Toth, a former third-grade teacher at Beauvoir, was taken into custody by Nicaraguan authorities Saturday.
His arrest brings to an end the five-year search for a man who last year replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. The former teacher, whom authorities called an “expert in social engineering,” has used two aliases and even faked his own suicide to elude police, authorities said.
On Saturday in Nicaragua, Toth spoke briefly to a reporter as he was taken from his home by police, seeming confused when the reporter asked in Spanish why he was being arrested, according to a video on a Nicaraguan news Web site.
“Crime?” Toth said in Spanish. “I haven’t committed a crime.”
Nicaraguan police said he had been living in Esteli, Nicaragua, under the name of Robert Shaw Walker and had a forged American passport with “Texas” on it as well as a falsified driver’s license and credit cards. He had been in Nicaragua on and off since October 2012, allegedly at times working with youths, police said.
Tall and lanky, Toth is recognizable by a mole under his left eye. Nicaraguan police said in a news release that he hid the mole by wearing an eye patch in public.
In federal court in the District, Toth was ordered held without bond. He is facing two charges: production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. If convicted of both counts, he could face 15 to 50 years in prison. At the hearing, Toth said little. Assistant Federal Public Defender Michelle Peterson indicated that Toth was interested in working out a plea deal.
Toth, whose image was plastered on billboards and at bus stops, became the 469th fugitive captured on the FBI’s top 10 list since its inception in 1950.
After getting the tip last week, the FBI identified Toth’s travel documents and conducted a financial analysis to pinpoint where he was, Parlave said. Authorities did not say why Toth chose to go to the Central American country.
Toth first came to police attention in 2008, when Beauvoir employees discovered a camera assigned to Toth with 68 pictures and videos, including pornographic images of one of his former students, authorities said.
“They found a media card in his classroom,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District. “There were pictures of kids smiling and playing in the classroom. There were also pictures that would be any parent’s nightmare.”
According to charging papers filed in U.S. District Court, Toth made a video in August 2007 of a man sexually touching a boy who was younger than 12. It was made at a home in Maryland, according to the documents. Police also found a video of Toth allegedly filming a naked boy in a classroom at Beauvoir, according to the documents.