Community corrections program escapee arrested in Valpo

2013-02-28T09:45:00Z 2013-03-01T00:03:05Z Community corrections program escapee arrested in ValpoTimes Staff nwitimes.com
February 28, 2013 9:45 am  • 

VALPARAISO | An 18-year-old woman who fled from a home detention program on Feb. 6 was arrested Thursday morning in Valparaiso.

April Kuchta, of 561 Glenwood Hills in Valparaiso, pleaded guilty in 2011 to handcuffing and sexually assaulting a teenage Valparaiso boy.

Kuchta was arrested about 6 a.m. Thursday in the 100 block of Hickory Street in Valparaiso, according to Indiana State Police Master Trooper Kevin Murphy. Murphy is assigned to the U.S. Marshal's Violent Fugitive Task Force.

Murphy said the task force and the Valparaiso Police Department received dozens of tips about Kuchta's whereabouts, some from as far away as the West Coast and Canada.

Murphy said police compiled a list Kuchta's friends and found her Thursday at the Hickory Street home, hiding under blankets in a bed.

Kuchta had pleaded guilty to Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony intimidation.

Kuchta was 16 at the time of the offense in April 2011. The victim was 17 and mentally disabled, according to police. She was waived to adult court.

Kuchta was sentenced in December 2011 to four years behind bars. She had already served a year and was required to complete half the sentence or less.

She was released Jan. 14 from Rockville Correctional Facility and registered with the county's community transition program on Feb. 1.

An official with the county adult probation department said Kuchta was called in after she provided descriptions of her activity on Feb. 5 that failed to match activity recorded by her GPS monitor.

Kuchta said she ran errands for her grandmother after the cancellation of a doctor's appointment that had been approved a day earlier. Her grandmother told officials she was out of town and had no idea Kuchta left the house.

The grandmother brought Kuchta to the PACT office for a visit Feb. 6, during which time Kuchta was asked to submit to a drug screen. She reportedly left the building, cut off the GPS monitor and threw it in a garbage can before fleeing.

Kuchta faces D and C felony counts of escape. The C felony carries a potential sentence of two to eight years behind bars, and the D felony is six months to three years.

Murphy said tips from Valparaiso residents finally led police the Hickory Street apartment.

"I think all of us involved in (the) law enforcement community are wondering what's next for her and where will she go," Murphy said.

A court date has not yet been set for Kuchta on the new charges.

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