Refugee nicknamed “rapist with bad breath” caught after 17 years on the run

A Massachusetts fugitive known as the “Bad Breath Rapist” was arrested by U.S. Marshals in California on Tuesday after being on the run for nearly 17 years.

Officers from several law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrest of 55-year-old Tuen Kit Lee, including the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Massachusetts Fugitive Task Force, as well as the Massachusetts State Police and the Quincy Police Department.

Lee is accused of fleeing court in September 2007 before he was due to be sentenced for the kidnapping and rape of a woman in 2005.

According to authorities, he raped a waitress at his family's restaurant in Quincy on February 2, 2005, after breaking into her home.

During the crime, the attacker wore a mask and held a knife to the victim before tying her to the bed with cable ties and sexually abusing her, investigators say.

She was found several hours later tied to the bed by her boyfriend after he came home because he could not reach his girlfriend by phone.

The victim later identified Lee as the perpetrator after identifying him by his bad breath, leading the media to dub him the “bad breath rapist.”

In 2005, Lee was found guilty of kidnapping and rape by a jury after two days of deliberation. However, he fled the state before the verdict was announced, and investigators were unable to track him down for nearly 17 years.

Authorities spent hundreds of hours trying to locate him, conducted numerous media campaigns, including several appearances on America's Most Wanted, and offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to his arrest, but their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

Until now.

Marshals said they were finally able to locate him after Massachusetts State Police received a tip that he might be living in Diablo, California.

State police then contacted U.S. Marshals in Northern California to investigate the tip and were able to confirm that he was in the area and living in a multi-million dollar mansion owned by a flower shop owner.

He was taken into custody Tuesday morning after surveillance officers observed a man and woman leaving the Diablo apartment and getting into a vehicle, Massachusetts State Police said.

State police added that a Danville police officer stopped a car where Lee initially gave a false name before confessing when questioned about his true identity.

His identity was confirmed by fingerprints, police said.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, his partner never knew who he really was, despite their 15-year relationship in California.

As the nearly 17-year search came to an end, PSWRFTF Deputy Commander Chief Inspector Sean LoPiccolo expressed his hope that Lee's arrest “would bring peace of mind to the victim and her family.”

“There are violent offenders who believe they can commit crimes without being held accountable for their actions,” said Chief Inspector LoPiccolo. “Tuen Lee was on the run for more than 16 years and the tireless efforts of law enforcement to find and capture him will hopefully bring peace of mind to the victim and her family.”

Anna Harden

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