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Federal agents captured a trucker in western North Carolina who was wanted for sexually abusing a child in Citrus County.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and North Carolina Highway Patrol apprehended 32-year-old Rapheal Malik Akbar Arnold on July 25, 2020, on a highway in Rutherford County, according to a USMS news release.

Arnold, of Oviedo, Florida, was arrested and booked into the county’s jail on a charge of being an out-of-state fugitive, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

He is being held without bond, pending his extradition to Citrus County, where he faces a charge of sexual battery on a child under 12 years old, according to the USMS.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jodi Sanders said July 27 Arnold waived his right for an extradition hearing, and will be transported to the local jail within the next 30 days. 

According to the USMS release, a local arrest warrant was issued July 16 for Arnold, a long-distance semitrailer driver.

Sanders said the allegations against Arnold stem back to May 2020.

Tipsters informed the USMS’ Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force Arnold would be driving on U.S. 74 in Rutherford County, where U.S. Marshals and state troopers pulled Arnold’s truck over on the afternoon of July 25.

Authorities in their search of the truck also found Arnold’s 5-year-old child, who was reported missing in Florida for three weeks, according to the USMS.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or