Published January 18, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. – A man suspected of faking his death in a fishing accident 15 years ago to avoid a trial on child sex-abuse charges has been arrested, the Oregon State Police said Friday.
Daniel Clement Chafe, 55, was taken into custody Wednesday in Bozeman, Mont., where he had been living under a different name, Lt. Gregg Hastings said.
Back in 1990s, Chafe was known in Roseburg, Ore., as Stryder Styafyr. The FBI said the married man was recruiting girls between of the ages of 14 and 16 to form what he dubbed the "Cobalt Clan."
"His reported goal was to have sex with these young girls in order to produce a large number of children over which he could rule," according to the FBI's most wanted poster.
Police arrested him on charges of rape, sodomy and sex abuse of two teenage girls, and said they had identified other victims.
Chafe moved to New Mexico during the investigation and worked as a computer technician. On Sept. 13, 1998 _ 10 days before his scheduled trial in Roseburg _ a friend with whom he had gone fishing in Washington state told authorities that Chafe fell overboard and was missing.
A search failed to find him, and investigators considered him a fugitive. He became the subject of several television shows, including "America's Most Wanted," and was in consideration for the FBI's Top 10 list, Hastings said.
The friend who told authorities that Chafe went overboard has not been charged with a crime at this point, Hastings said.
"Obviously we've got to learn what's gone on over the last 15 years," he said.
Authorities in Roseburg declined to discuss the late 1990s investigation on Friday.
Chafe had been living in a city near Bozeman and owned a computer business. Undersheriff Dan Springer of Gallatin County, Mont., said detectives have found no evidence that Chafe was trying to recruit Montana girls.
"We have no indication (of that) and we do not have any kind of investigation into charges of that nature," he said.
Chafe remains in a Montana jail pending extradition to Roseburg, where he faces six counts of third-degree rape, five counts of third-degree sexual abuse and seven counts of third-degree sodomy.