Van Buren Police were called to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith at approximately 1:00am Sunday morning to investigating a sexual assault on a juvenile girl. Detectives were able to identify the suspect as Thomas Shawn Nelson, who is a family acquaintance of the victim's family.
Detective Jonathan Wear says that when police searched Nelson's home they were able to determine that Nelson was possibly en route to California where he has family.
The Van Buren Police Department notified other police agencies and Nelson was located by an Oklahoma law enforcement agency on Interstate 40 near Oklahoma City. Nelson is currently being held in the Canadian County Jail.