W.Va. rape suspect arrested in Norcross

NORCROSS - A man wanted in his home state of West Virginia on charges of rape was arrested Monday afternoon at a Norcross bus station.

Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said 39-year-old Richard Martin of Wheeling, W.Va., was arrested by members of the Sheriff's Department Fugitive Unit about 4 p.m. Monday at the Greyhound bus station at 2125 Beaver Ruin Road.

Bourbonnais said deputies were waiting for Martin at the station as he got off a bus. She said deputies believe Martin had been hiding out in Houston for more than a month when they received information from West Virginia investigators who thought Martin was heading to Gwinnett County to visit relatives or a family friend.

"Our fugitive team followed up and found out he would be coming in on a bus," Bourbonnais said. "They waited for him and arrested him as he got off the bus."

Bourbonnais said Martin is suspected of brutally raping a 9-year-old girl in West Virginia in 2006 then threatening to kill her if she told anyone about the incident.

"The child reported the rape in January and apparently for the last month and a half (Martin) has been hiding out in Houston, Texas," Bourbonnais said.

Bourbonnais said the child told West Virginia authorities the man believed to be Martin stuck a sock in her mouth when she screamed then threatened her.

Martin is believed to have raped the girl sometime between May and October of 2006, Bourbonnais said, but the girl did not report the alleged incident until January .

"He had threatened to kill her, that and the trauma may have delayed her telling any one," Bourbonnais said.

Martin is charged with first degree sexual assault in West Virginia and is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail until he can be extradited to his home state to face the charges.

Bourbonnais said Martin remains at the Gwinnett County Jail and must agree to sign extradition papers. If he does not sign, Bourbonnais said, a hearing will be held in Gwinnett to move him to West Virginia.

Bourbonnais was unsure whether Martin had an arrest record, faced other charges or if he was a registered sex offender in the state.

Messages were left for authorities at the West Virginia State Police Department, but no one returned the Post's calls.

Chief Deputy Butler at the Ohio County Sheriff's office in Wheeling, W.Va., said he heard about the incident concerning Martin but did not know details of the case. Messages left by the Post for the Ohio County Sheriff were not returned.