Man who killed to evade rape charges found in hospital with COVID in Scotland


A Rhode Island man believed to have fled the US and faked his own death to avoid prosecution for rape and financial fraud has been arrested in Scotland after being hospitalized with COVID-19, it said the authorities.

Nicholas Alahverdian, 34, who has been an outspoken critic of child welfare in Rhode Island after saying he was sexually abused in the state’s foster care system, now faces extradition to the US to face a rape charge in Utah .

Alahverdian was discovered after developing a serious case of the coronavirus and being placed on a ventilator at a hospital in Glasgow, Rhode Island State Police Maj. Robert Creamer told The Providence Journal this week.

Hospital staff verified his identity by comparing their patient to a photo of Alahverdian submitted by investigators, the office of Utah County attorney David Leavitt said, refusing to provide details.

Alahverdian, who lived abroad under the assumed name Arthur Knight and used other aliases, was arrested by Scottish authorities on 13 December. Leavitt said Friday that his office has provided information to overseas authorities about Alahverdian’s flight risk as the court weighs his bail. An Alahverdian representative could not be found for comment.

Court documents released Thursday in Utah show that in 2008 Alahverdian met a 21-year-old woman on MySpace while living in Orem, Utah, under the name Nicholas Rossi.

The woman said she had ended the relationship, but Alahverdian owed her money, promised to repay her and instead sexually assaulted her in his apartment.

Leavitt’s office said the DNA evidence collected at the time was not tested until 2017 as part of a state effort to clear up overdue rape kits. The evidence came back as a match to a sexual assault case in Ohio.

Alahverdian was convicted in 2008 of two sex-related charges after meeting a fellow student at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. The Rhode Island State Police have said Alahverdians are also wanted in their state for failing to register as sex offenders.

The FBI has said he is also wanted in Ohio on charges that he took credit cards in the name of his foster father and amassed more than $200,000 in debt.

Leavitt’s office declined to comment Friday when asked whether Alahverdian would also be charged with faking his death or avoiding arrest. Authorities noted that he had been in contact with FBI officials in Ohio by phone and email in December 2019, saying he was living in Ireland because of extradition policies.

It is not clear whether Alahverdian has a lawyer; an email asking for comment was sent to the “Alahverdian Family Office,” which had sent notice in 2020 about his funeral and memorial service at a church in Providence, Rhode Island.

For years, Alahverdian had been an outspoken critic of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, testifying before state lawmakers about sexual abuse and torture in foster homes.

In 2020, he told local media he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live, The Journal reported.

An obituary published online claimed he died on Feb. 29, 2020, but last year Rhode Island state police, the former Alahverdian attorney and the former foster family were publicly doubting whether he actually died.


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