An eight-month long search for a 40-year-old fugitive accused of child rape and molestation in Cowlitz County, Wash., came to an end in Pahoa Monday thanks to tips from Hawaii Island residents.
“We are incredibly grateful to the people of Hawaii,” Sgt. Kevin Tate of the Kelso Police Department. “We had more than one person contact us. We had a lot of support here and support from the Hawaii County Police Department.
Hawaii County police announced today that they arrested on Monday Eric Sean Roloson, wanted in Kelso on a warrant for his arrest on two counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first-degree child molestation.
Roloson, who has been living in Pahoa, made his appearance in Third Circuit Court at an extradition hearing this afternoon.
Judge Peter Kubota ordered Roloson to be held without bail, and to return 1:30 p.m. Sept. 23 unless he is picked up by Washigton authorities.
A complaint for his extradition filed today shows that Roloson told a Hawaii County police officer he left Washington because he “knew stuff was coming down and was scared,” and that “some of the things I was accused of was bullshit.”
The allegations of child molestation and child rape occurred over a period of at least six or seven years in Washington and Oregon, according to supporting documents.
Kelso police began investigating in January investigating Roloson, then a resident of Kelso, on suspicion of child rape and child molestation, Tate said.
A Cowlitz County Superior Court document showing probable cause says police received a report Jan. 24 from Child Protective Services of the sexual assault of two girls from 2012 to December 2019. The alleged crimes began when one was 6 and the other 10 or 11. Both are now teenagers.
Detectives tried to track him down for months, but Roloson fled after learning about their investigation, so police obtained in March a warrant for his arrest.
“We had the warrant for months,” Tate said. “We only posted the information to Facebook a few days ago because we had exhausted all our efforts. We can’t keep waiting if the accusations are true, and there are other people who are at risk.”
The Facebook post went up on Aug. 19. Roloson was captured five days later.
Tate said Roloson had family living in Hawaii, but is not sure where exactly they lived but they were “extremely uncooperative.
Hawaii County Detective Keith Simeona said they worked with Kelso detectives and got the anonymous tip and were able to locate the fugitive.
He was arrested without incident.
Roloson was held in a police cellblock without bail, pending his initial court appearance today (August 25).
Tate said, “The tipster responded to us directly based on the Facebook post.”
The Kelso Police Department on its Facebook page thanked the public, saying the post yielded 1.8 million views and had over 36,000 shares.
After making the post, Kelso detectives received information in coordination with the U.S. Marshal Service, and made contacts with agencies in Hawaii, Tate said.
“Not everybody was happy to see him getting taken ito custody,” Tate said.
A moderator of the Kelso Police Department’s Facebook page called to Tate’s attention that one person commenting on the Roloson post claimed that he lost his job because of the arrest.
The person claimed to have helped the fugitive while hiding out in Pahoa, and bemoaned the fact that he’d have to find other work.
“Some people will protect anyone regardless of what the truth is,” Tate said.
“I know there are some victims that are greatly appreciative of this,” he said.
Kelso police have not been able to question Roloson regarding the alleged crimes.
Because of the nature of the offenses against children that is sexual, we do not provide any clarifying information,” Tate said. He did say they are known to him.
The Kelso Police Department’s Facebook page concludes its post saying: “Because of you, a citizen in a remote part of Hawaii called us with Roloson’s whereabouts.
“A law enforcement operation evolved from that tip, which resulted in the arrest. We are extremely thankful for the assistance of the police officers in Hawaii, and especially that one citizen who saw something, and spoke up.”