A man who fled New York more than 40 years ago after being convicted of rape and sodomy of a teenage girl has been arrested by Suffolk County police.
Todd Matus, 62, had been hiding in Flagstaff, Arizona after spending time in Vermont, Nevada and Hawaii, Suffolk police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Friday. Sini said Matus fled New York while on bail after his conviction in December 1975.
“In June 1975, then 21-year-old Todd Matus violently and brutally raped and sodomized an 18-year-old female in the woods in Dix Hills,” Sini said.
Matus was found guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, Sini said. He was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison, but fled the state, Sini said.
In Arizona, Matus assumed another person’s identity and lived under an alias for 41 years, Sini said.
After Matus turned 62 last summer, he applied for Social Security benefits. That move helped authorities locate him.
“Thanks to work from the Social Security Administration, it was discovered the person whose alias Matus was using had died in 2005,” Sini said.
Social Security officials alerted Flagstaff police, who discovered Matus’ true identity and found his outstanding warrants in Suffolk County.
Matus was arrested last fall in Flagstaff and charged with forgery and identity theft. He was turned over to Suffolk County authorities after completing his sentence in Arizona.
Matus was arraigned Thursday at the Suffolk County Court 10th Judicial District in Riverhead. He is being represented by a Legal Aid attorney. Matus is being held at Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead. He will be sentenced on the earlier conviction on July 7 before State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen in criminal court in Riverhead.
With Khristopher J. Brooks