SHERIFF’S RUSE ENDS FUGITIVE’S INTERNATIONAL TRAVELS
Wednesday, June 23, 2010— A Florida fugitive who has traveled around the world is set to be extradited today, after Cook County Sheriff's fugitive investigators developed a unique and elaborate plan to capture her in Chicago, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Wednesday.
Victoria Okegbola, 28, has been wanted by Broward County, Fla. officials since she left the country last summer. In May, Broward County officials notified Cook County’s fugitive investigators that Okegbola may be residing in the Chicago area. An investigation - and ruse by officers - resulted in her arrest on June 4 in the 8500 block of South University Drive.
She has been wanted in Broward County, Florida on charges that she fled the state with her 1-1/2 year-old son while engaged in a custody dispute with the boy’s father. In the midst of that dispute, Okegbola - a Nigerian native - returned to her home country in July 2009 with her son to stay with family there, investigators learned.
The father of the child verbally agreed to the trip on the condition he would be able to contact and visit the child in Nigeria.
But once Okegbola arrived in Africa, the father was denied those opportunities.
Okegbola then returned to the U.S. to pursue a nursing degree, leaving her son to stay with relatives in Nigeria.
The woman’s husband contacted Nigerian officials and the US Embassy in Nigeria in an effort to contact Okegbola’s family and confirm his well-being. All attempts were denied by her family, investigators learned. Finally, after numerous attempts, the Nigerian government was able to successfully complete a welfare check on the child and confirmed for the father that his son was in good health.
Still, Florida officials continued pursuing her on charges of interference with custody.
After receiving notice from Broward County in May, Cook County Sheriff’s fugitive investigators then began pursuing leads in Chicago, learning she had recently received a nursing degree from Chicago’s Samland Institute of Allied Health and Technology.
Investigators checked addresses where Okegbola claimed to live in Chicago, but were unable to find her. They then began placing calls to various phone numbers she had used while she was a student, until they located a current working number for her.
That's when a sheriff's fugitive investigator posed as an executive with a local nursing agency, indicating to Okegbola that there would be an opportunity for her to land a position with the firm. After she agreed to meet for an interview, that officer said she would first have to receive paperwork to begin the application process. Okegbola then agreed to meet the officer at the South Side home where she was staying.
But instead of answering the door to someone delivering documents about a job, Okegbola was instead greeted by officers who arrested her without incident. Investigators found no evidence her child had recently been at the residence and she confirmed she has not seen her son since she left him with family in Nigeria.
Okegbola has been held in the Cook County Jail since her June 4 arrest. Florida officials are expected to arrive today to extradite her back to Broward County to face charges.