Travis Co. fugitive on run for 16 years nabbed in Panama

Alexander Ross, 66

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After being on the run for nearly 17 years, the FBI says an international fugitive wanted in Travis County has been captured and extradited from Central America. Alexander Emil Ross, 66, formerly lived in Manvel, Texas. Authorities had been trying to track him down — wanted on state and federal charges. They deported Ross to the United States from Panama on Friday.

Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the San Antonio district for the FBI, and Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced Ross’ arrest on Thursday.

On April 29, 1998, Ross was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child; two counts of Indecency with a child; and practicing dentistry without a license in Travis County. The charges allege Ross has never been licensed to practice dentistry in Texas and that he sexually abused his patients, who were children, in Austin in April 1998. Subsequent to being charged, Austin police say their investigation revealed that Ross fled Travis County to avoid prosecution on the state charges.

In May 1998, APD and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office asked for the FBI’s help in finding Ross. On July 22, 1998, he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, and the United States District Court issued a warrant.

FBI officials figured out Ross was living in Panama and — working with the FBI’s legal team in Panama City — facilitated his arrested by Panamanian officials in 2013. After 16 years of trying to pinpoint Ross’ whereabouts, authorities finally deported Ross back to the United States, and he will face state charges.

Austin Police Commander Patrick Cochran was a detective in 1998, and this was one of his first big cases.

“I kept a sticky note on my computer all these years,” Cochran said. “I would call our fugitive unit or somebody just to see if we could track him down.”

Cochran says in addition to the sexual assault and indecency accusations, Ross performed unnecessary dental procedures.

“There are reports from little kids that had all baby teeth, but he would cap them and get money from Medicaid,” said Cochran.

Cochran hopes having Ross behind bars will help former patients in their recovery.

“Part of that is the closure of the case, you know, letting them know that the suspect didn’t get away with it. He is going to pay for what he did to them,” said Cochran.

Ross is scheduled to be in Travis County court on Jan. 23.

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