Police: Gun-toting fugitive prompted 6-hour York Twp. manhunt

Liz Evans Scolforo

A fugitive on the run from York County child-sex charges went to the home of his 14-year-old alleged victim Friday morning, prompting a six-hour manhunt in York Township that included a helicopter search, police said.

Austin Craley, who is facing child-sex charges, was armed when he went to the home of his 14-year-old alleged victim Friday morning. It prompted a six-hour manhunt in York Township that included a helicopter search, police said.

Austin Michael Craley, 20, is armed with a handgun and should be considered dangerous if confronted, according to York Area Regional Police.

Craley had a pretrial conference scheduled for Wednesday in York County Court before Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook, and a bail hearing was scheduled for that proceeding as well, defense attorney Tom Kelley said.

Court records indicate that on April 4, the York County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have his $15,000 bail revoked.

"They are alleging he had contact with the (listed) victim in the case," Kelley said.

Craley failed to appear at that hearing, according to court records, at which point the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

In that case, he is charged with statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors, court records state.

Confrontation: About 6 a.m. Friday, Craley — armed with a handgun — went to the home of the 14-year-old, where he was confronted by a man who lives there, police said.

"There was some type of conflict between him and the girl's guardian," said Sgt. Peter Montgomery, York Area Regional's spokesman. The girl's home is in the area of Lismore Boulevard, he confirmed.

"Why he brought a gun, I have no clue," the sergeant said.

A state police helicopter was brought in during a six-hour search in York Twp. for a fugitive wanted on child-sex charges, police said.
(Photo courtesy of York Area Regional Police)

Craley ran off, heading toward the Apartments at Waterford, according to Montgomery.

York Area Regional officers, York County sheriff's deputies and state police troopers searched for Craley in the apartment complex, the large area of woods next to it and the surrounding area, the sergeant said. A state police helicopter was brought in to search as well, he said.

Whereabouts unknown: The six-hour manhunt failed to turn up Craley, according to Montgomery.

Officers went to Craley's last-known address but learned he is no longer living there, Montgomery said.

"We do know he's alive right now, because he's communicated with somebody at the (girl's) residence," the sergeant said on Friday afternoon.

Craley is aware that he's a wanted man, according to Montgomery.

Anyone who sees Craley or has information about his whereabouts is urged to call 911 immediately. On Sunday, police could not offer any updates on his whereabouts.

Bail revoked: Deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser filed the bail-revocation petition, alleging lead York Area Regional Detective Donald Hopple Jr. was told April 2 that Craley and the girl were still seeing each other and still having sex after he had been charged and released on bail, according to the motion.

Craley violated his bail conditions by continuing to have contact with the girl, the motion stated, and Judge Cook agreed.

Criminal defendants' bail conditions regularly include no-contact provisions with their alleged victims.

The allegations: Craley's charging documents allege he began a sexual relationship with the girl when she was 13 and he was 19.

Those documents state Craley took the girl out of town and out of state on a couple of occasions without her mother's knowledge.

The girl initially denied she and Craley were sexually involved, but later admitted it, according to documents.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at