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Man accused of faking death to avoid Utah sexual assault charges found living abroad

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Nicholas Alahverdian was reported dead on March 3, 2020. But in December 2021, police found him alive at a Glasgow hospital.

Screengrab from NBC Boston video

A Rhode Island man who police say faked his own death in 2020 was recently found – alive – in Scotland, local media reports.

Before his supposed death, Nicholas Alahverdian was known as an outspoken critic of Rhode Island’s child welfare program. He said that he had been raped in group homes run by the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families, as well as in group homes in Florida and Nebraska that he said he was “shuffled” through, WPRI reported.

But he had also been accused of sexual assault himself. He was previously convicted of two sexual assaults in Dayton, Ohio, in 2008, the Washington Post reported. DNA from that case was uploaded to a national database in 2017, allowing Utah authorities to link him with more incidents years later.

In 2018, “the DNA profile from (a) Utah sexual assault came back as a match” to the Ohio sexual assault case, according to a news release from the Utah County Attorney’s Office on Jan. 12, 2022. He was then identified as a suspect in “a number of similar offenses in Utah and throughout the United States after the 2008 incident.”

Alahverdian was identified as a suspect in the Utah case under the alias Nicholas Rossi, though he was also linked to at least 8 other pseudonyms, the release said.

Sherrie Hall Everett, a spokesperson with the Utah County Attorney’s Office, told WPRI that investigators discovered Alahverdian had fled the country to avoid prosecution in Ohio “and attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased.”

Jeffery Pine, a lawyer who had previously represented Alahverdian, said he was living in Ireland at the end of 2019 and was aware the FBI was investigating him. Before his disappearance, Alahverdian told media outlets in Rhode Island that he had been diagnosed with late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live, according to The Providence Journal.

His death was announced shortly after, in March 2020, WJAR reported.

But state police in Rhode Island began to suspect Alahverdian was still alive. Pine told the Journal that the timeline of events – the FBI investigation, the announcement of Alahverdian’s cancer, and his death – seemed suspicious.

Alahverdian was ultimately found in December 2021 at a hospital in Scotland, where he was on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19, the Journal reported.

He was living there under an alias, the Utah County Attorney’s Office said in its news release. He was taken into custody, and the attorney’s office is working with federal and international agencies to have him extradited back to Utah

David Leavitt, the county attorney, told The Washington Post that he had never seen anything like this before.

“He certainly has gone to elaborate means to hide himself,” Leavitt said.

He added that the DNA sample uploaded to the database used to link Alahverdian to the sexual assault cases helped authorities find him at the hospital in Glasgow.

“That created a hit, so we knew where he was,” he told the Post.

The Rhode Island State Police Department, Dayton Police and the FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment from McClatchy News.

This story was originally published January 13, 2022 2:41 PM.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Previously, she reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, and Arizona PBS.



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