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Child molester dies in California prison

Family member reports Wilde committed suicide
10-1-2007 California:

Officials confirmed Monday that convicted child molester Gary Wilde died in custody.

Wilde, 67, a two-time convicted sex offender, pleaded guilty Aug. 15 in an Auburn courtroom to four counts of egregious child molestation and sex offenses.

He admitted to willfully committing four lewd and lascivious acts with "M.D.," a girl under the age of 14 between April 1 and April 30, 1994.

The name of the victim, and her younger sister, also a victim, are not being released due to the nature of the crimes.

A family member of Wilde's reported that the molester committed suicide while in custody at the California Department of corrections processing center by taking a large number of pills.

Lt. Ray Munoz, public information for Deuel Vocational Institute, said Wilde was in the Tracy facility's reception center when he died.

"The cause of death is pending," Munoz said.

The primary mission of the vocational institute is to serve as a "reception" center for Northern California counties. It houses inmates while compiling and evaluating the criminal records and background, according to the institute's Web site.

Once the reception process is completed, the inmate is transferred to one of 33 state prisons where they serve the remainder of their prison sentences.

Wilde admitted, during sentencing, to two prior "serious and violent" felony convictions of child molestation, one occurring in Orange County in 1989 and another conviction in 1991 in Sacramento County. In 1994, Wilde, then married and a registered sex offender in Auburn, befriended the parents of two young girls, ages 9 and 10. Wilde convinced the victims' mother to divorce her husband, marry him and to turn her two young daughters, ages 9 and 10, over to him.

They planned on starting a new life in Utah. But when the victims' mother went to join Wilde and her daughters in Utah, they had vanished.

Wilde moved the girls throughout the nation, living in Washington, Utah, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada and most recently in Idaho, after absconding with the girls from their Newcastle home, officials said.

Detective Joe Rangel of the Auburn Police Department, in conjunction with the FBI, located Wilde after his eldest victim fled and contacted authorities.

"(She) made him angry. Gary went into the house and got his 9 mm and took shots at her. She stood her ground," Rangel has said. "After he stopped shooting at her she fled."

Judge Larry D. Gaddis sentenced Wilde to 25-years-to-life in state prison. Wilde had yet to be placed in a permanent facility when he died.

The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at or post a comment on ..more..

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