Nationwide Manhunt for Suspect in Child Sex Case Ends in Las Cruces

Las Cruces News

A man wanted on multiple counts of production of child pornography and other sex related offenses against children was arrested in Las Cruces Monday after a nationwide manhunt.

Kenneth Earl Hooks, 35, is facing state and federal charges relating to sexual exploitation of a child. U.S. Marshals in El Centro, California initially began searching for Hooks April 2 when he went on the run after his girlfriend, Sarah Morris, 28, was taken into custody in the California desert.

Hooks was wanted for numerous sex offenses against children to include possession of images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, employment or use of minors to perform prohibited acts, and invasion of privacy and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Investigators believed Hooks was on the run in order to avoid capture, although he has family ties to the State of Alabama. Eventually, he was tracked to the El Paso area and later to Las Cruces. 

While the manhunt for Hooks on state charges continued, HSI Special Agents were building a federal case against him in Alabama. On May 4, Hooks was formally charged with production of child pornography and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force tracked Hooks to the 1300 block of Espina Street in Las Cruces. He was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center where he is currently being held without bond, pending extradition to Alabama. 

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