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Man wanted for multiple sexual assaults of a child in San Diego County found dead in South Carolina

Frederick McLean.png
Posted at 4:03 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-21 23:44:58-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The body of a man wanted by San Diego authorities on multiple counts of sexual assault on a child was found in South Carolina.

According to U.S. Marshals, the decomposing body of Frederick Cecil McLean was discovered on November 6 by a neighbor in Seneca, South Carolina.

Authorities said McLean was one of America’s 15 most wanted fugitives. He had been on the run for more than 16 years.

“The discovery of Frederick McLean’s body marks an end to the manhunt, but the investigation continues,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis.

Authorities used fingerprints to positively identify McLean. No foul play is suspected, according to U.S. Marshals.

McLean was wanted by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department on several counts of sexual assault on a child. He was deemed a “high risk for sexually assaulting young girls,” authorities said.

U.S. Marshals said he had been molesting young females for about 25 years with at least eight victims. He was a Jehovah's Witness and would target people met at church.

One of McLean’s alleged victims, who is now an adult, reported that McLean assaulted her more than 100 times starting at the age of 5 and lasting seven years. “An arrest warrant was issued for him in 2005 and he was added to the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in 2006,” authorities added.

McLean reportedly lived in South Carolina for 15 years and was going by the name “James Fitzgerald.”

“We wish McLean’s fate had been determined by a court of law 15 years ago,” said U.S. Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California. “The investigators working on this case never gave up. We hope McLean’s death brings some sense of closure for the victims and their families, especially knowing he can never hurt another child.”

U.S. Marshals and local authorities are investigating whether McLean had any help avoiding capture.

“During his years on the run McLean used numerous aliases and also lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Anderson, South Carolina,” said Stafford. “Because of his alleged crimes, we are concerned there may be other victims out there.”

Anyone with information on the cases is urged to call the nearest U.S. Marshals Service office or local law enforcement.