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Molestation suspect camped in woods to elude cops

SNELLVILLE -- Police say a child molestation suspect camped in woods for several days to avoid investigators who were tracking him via his debit card purchases.

Tion Juan Pri, 21, of Grayson, had eluded police since Friday. Snellville police tracked Pri to an encampment behind a shopping center Tuesday and found that he'd attempted suicide, said Snellville police Chief Roy Whitehead.

Pri was transported to Eastside Medical Center for treatment, where he'll remain until he's moved to the Gwinnett County Jail. Police wouldn't elaborate on how his injuries were inflicted, but called them severe.

Pri is accused of forcing a girl under age 16 to give him oral sex at a home in Grayson earlier this month, according to an arrest warrant. He's charged with one count of felony aggravated child molestation.

Whitehead said the victim came to Eastside Medical Center on Friday to report she'd been molested by Pri.

"A forensic exam documented proof of the incident," he said.

Investigators obtained a warrant and shortly before serving it learned that Pri had crashed a vehicle near the intersection of Centerville Highway and Zoar Road in Gwinnett. He fled on foot and camped in the Centerville area for a couple days, Whitehead said.

Investigators learned that Pri could be a danger to himself and asked for public assistance in locating him Friday.

On Tuesday, an investigator combing woods near the crash scene located evidence that Pri had been staying in the woods. Police soon learned that Pri was using a debit card at several stores, and they honed in on the area of Presidential Markets, a Publix-anchored shopping center near Ronald Reagan Parkway and Ga. Highway 124. The card had been used there several times earlier that day, Whitehead said.

Investigators and officers closed in, finding Pri in a nearby encampment, Whitehead said.