By JOSH NEWTON
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. —
A Tahlequah man sought by local and federal authorities on felony child molestation charges was captured in Florida Tuesday, just days after a judge in Cherokee County ordered his bank account frozen.
Roxie Lee Wagers, 71, faces 10 charges in Cherokee County District Court, including nine counts of lewd molestation and one count of attempted solicitation of a minor for indecent exposure.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Investigator James Brown, a special deputy U.S. marshal, said Wagers is now jailed in Broward County, Fla., after his arrest by the U.S. Marshal Service Tuesday.
“We don’t know yet whether he’ll be brought back here or if he’ll fight extradition,” said Brown.
Tahlequah Detective Thomas Donnell, who has been investigating Wagers, said the suspect fled town sometime late last year after he learned a case had been opened into the alleged molestation of three young girls, dating back as far as 2006.
By the time charges had been formally filed and a judge had issued a warrant for his arrest, Wagers was in Florida, authorities now know.
“He knew it was coming, so he took off,” said Brown.
Authorities in Cherokee County recently received tips that Wagers was staying in a condominium in Hollywood, Fla., a community south of Fort Lauderdale. Investigators gained access to Wagers’ bank account and phone records Tuesday and began to zero in on him.
They learned Wagers withdrew money from an ATM in Davie, Fla. – a community just a few miles northwest of Hollywood, Fla. – sometime in November.
Wagers also purchased an airline ticket to Bogota, Colombia, on New Year’s Eve at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but was unable to make his flight, Brown said. The ticket purchase was made just hours before the U.S. State Department was able to flag his passport, according to Brown.
Wagers has may friends in Bogota, according to investigators, and had he made it to Colombia, authorities there would not have allowed his extradition.
Brown said members of the U.S. Marshal Service Eastern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force contacted the U.S. Marshal Service in Florida, and authorities there found and arrested Wagers after a tip provided an address.
Wagers could now face charges for fleeing across state lines to avoid prosecution.
Brown said Wagers had $4,000 in cash and a phone when he was captured. Wagers’ truck had also been transported from Oklahoma on a tractor-trailer by one of the suspect’s friends, who drove to Owasso from Florida to get the vehicle and haul it back to the Sunshine State.
Court documents show charges against Wagers are based on the alleged molestation of one victim, who was 9 years old when the incidents began in 2006. But authorities have said charges could later be filed in relation to two other victims.
According to court documents, Wagers sexually molested one girl several times between 2006 and 2012.
Wagers made a confession to one victim’s father, and offered to pay the family $17,000 to keep the allegations secret, according to Donnell. That discussion was recorded.
Wagers is also accused of enticing girls to model underwear he had purchased for them, asking them to “put on a show” for him after he had committed a lewd act to himself.
Wagers, usually called in Cherokee County simply his first name, “Roxie,” is a businessman with diverse interests. He is best known for his barbecue and an entertainment venue on State Highway 10, Roxie’s Roost.