A fugitive accused of rape remains at large and police have arrested a woman accused of harboring him in the Solebury Township home where she cared for an elderly woman.
Meredith Custodio, a live-in caregiver for the past two months at a house in the 200 block of Bobwhite Road, has been charged with hindering apprehension and conspiracy for allegedly hiding David A. Hamilton Jr., accused of multiple sex offenses against two young girls.
“We believe she has given him cover and aid,” said Solebury Police Chief Dominick P. Bellizzie at a press conference outside the township police department Wednesday.
Also speaking at the press conference were Lower Southampton Police Chief John T. Krimmel, Jr., from the township where the crimes
ainst the girls are alleged to have occurred, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark.
Authorities said they don’t know the relationship between Custodio and Hamilton, 47, but they said he had been at the house since late Friday or early Saturday, and was there until Tuesday night when he fled in a stolen car.
Hamilton was last seen Tuesday, before stealing the vehicle from the 200 block of Bobwhite Road in the Fox Run Preserve community.
He is wanted for multiple sexual assaults of a child, which occurred over the past five years in Feasterville, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
A warrant for child rape and related charges was issued by the Lower Southampton Police Department for Hamilton on Sept. 19. On Sept. 21, Hamilton was charged with aggravated assault after he tried to steal a weapon from a New Hope police officer who attempted to arrest him.
“We think he’s very dangerous. He assaulted at least two juveniles and one police officer and attempted to take his weapon,” Bellizzie said.
Police said Hamilton, a former Uber driver, is believed to be a 20-year U.S. Army veteran with cavalry and ordinance experience, and may have served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Hamilton is charged with the rape of a child, sexual assault on a child 11 or older, indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old and other crimes. In all, he faces 12 charges, all but one of them a felony, according to Lower Southampton police.
Krimmel said the mother of the children has them staying at another location, away from home, and they are being protected at school. He said Hamilton is not related to the children, but declined to say how he knew them.
Bellizzie said police had been to the house at 241 Bobwhite Road once on Saturday and twice on Tuesday to question Custodio, based on information from Lower Southampton police, which he would not detail. He said she had denied hiding Hamilton.
Hamilton’s backpack, personal items, wallet, cash and credit cards were recovered after the contact he had with the New Hope police officer on Sept. 21. However, police believe he now has clean clothing and money after hiding in the house on Bobwhite Road.
Police believe Hamilton could now be staying in a white tent with a red top, possibly in the woods along the Delaware River. He is described as a white male, 5-feet, 11-inches tall, 180 pounds, with hazel eyes and short brown hair.
The stolen car is a 2016 white Toyota Avalon bearing Pennsylvania license plate PD3759P.
Police are asking the public to keep their doors locked, be vigilant and not to approach Hamilton if they see him. They are asking people to contact them if they see the tent, the car or Hamilton.
“He’s not going to get very far without the car, so the car’s important to us,” Bellizzie said.
“It gives us a starting point as to where Hamilton might be,” added Clark. “We’re asking the public to be vigilant.”
Clark, who said the Marshal Service specializes in locating sex offenders, asked anyone who sees Hamilton or has a tip to either call 911 or 1-866-865-TIPS.
There is a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to Hamilton’s arrest, he said.
“We want the public to be aware of who he is and what to look for,” Clark said. “He’s our top priority right now.”