A man accused of fleeing child sex crime charges in North Carolina, and suspected of committing further sex crimes against a Mason County girl, had allegedly been living in Shelton for the past five years using the identity of an infant who died in 1957.
The Mason County Sheriff's Office on Monday identified Ronald Lee Burns as the real name of "Paul Davis" after checking his fingerprints against a national database.
"Burns admitted he had researched the infant's death online and assumed the identity in 2016 upon fleeing North Carolina to avoid prosecution for sex offenses against multiple children," the office wrote in a statement released Monday.
That infant, the real Paul Francis Davis, died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and would be 65 today.
Detectives with the office began investigating Burns last month after a 4-year-old girl told her mother and an interviewer that "Paul" had her touch him inappropriately while at his residence, according to documents filed in Mason County Superior Court.
During the investigation, Burns' identity raised questions among detectives. They found he had been living in Mason County for a few years, and had a valid Washington state driver's license, but detectives could not locate further information about his past.
According to a 2016 story in the Shelby Star of North Carolina, Burns, then 60, was accused of sexual assaults on two 7-year-old girls. He was charged with seven counts of indecent liberties with a child, two counts of statutory sex offense with a child by an adult and one count of attempted statutory sex offense with a child by an adult.
Deputies interviewed the man's girlfriend of four years, who said he had mentioned to her a prior drunken driving conviction from Pennsylvania and also told her the current investigation may amount to a violation of his probation. Officers could not locate any criminal history for "Davis" and his Washington state driver's license lists no identification was provided when the license was issued.
"The male's girlfriend stated he works for cash only and has no other income or health insurance and had given her an alternate date of birth," an investigator wrote in court records.
Burns, who had lived in Cherryville, North Carolina, was an employee at the Cleveland County School District but investigators told the paper the assaults did not occur at school.
Mason County prosecutors have not yet filed charges against Burns. He was booked Friday into the Mason County Jail for investigation of first-degree child molestation and identity theft and is being held without bail, according to the jail's online roster.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Shelton man accused of using dead infant's ID to hide from sex crime charges