A California man who faked his suicide near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to avoid prison for child sexual assault and pornography charges was arrested in Florida this week, authorities said.
Michael Manning, 58, of Chico, was in police custody in Monroe County, Fla., and awaiting extradition to California, the Chico Police Department said in a news release. In 2016, Manning pleaded no contest to oral copulation of a person under 14, possession of more than 600 images of child and youth pornography and two counts of solicitation of a minor to engage in the preparation of sexual images, police said.
He was supposed to be sentenced Oct. 6, 2016, but he never made it to court. A car rented in his name was found a day after the scheduled hearing by National Park Service officers near the Golden Gate Bridge, along with a suicide note. Manning's body was never found, which raised suspicions.
“Investigators began to monitor the behavior and patterns of a close associate of Manning and observed what appeared to be sophisticated counter-surveillance measures,” according to the news release.
Last month, the U.S. Marshals Service received leads that Manning could be in Florida, the Chico Enterprise-Record reported. He was arrested by Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies, who found him living in a conex storage container. He identified himself as William Wallace Littlejohn and had a fake U.S. passport and U.S. Navy identification card.