Sat May 17, 2014, 05:23 AM

California fire chief arrested in stabbing death

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Despite reported sightings as distant as Los Angeles and Oregon, a former California fire battalion chief suspected in the stabbing death of his girlfriend never moved far from home as he eluded capture for more than two weeks, authorities said Friday.

Orville "Moe" Fleming was arrested after a detective spotted him boarding a public bus around noon as he apparently went looking for food, homicide Detective Brian Meux said.

He had shaved his moustache, changed into clothes he bought at a thrift shop, wore a hat and had been hiding in dense vegetation, avoiding capture despite multiple searches of the area using aircraft and tracking dogs.

Fleming "was basically hidden in plain sight," Meux said, close enough that he could hear the search helicopters circling overhead. "He was a lone survivor for those 16 days."

He was dirty and disheveled but was arrested unarmed and without incident near where he had abandoned his official California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pickup in a Sacramento suburb May 1.

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What an awful crime. And how sad. Going from someone devoted to saving lives to someone who takes one.

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