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ID- Alleged molester commits suicide

7-12-2008 Idaho:

MOYIE SPRINGS - With several possible incidents of sexual abuse piling up against him, the Hayden businessman arrested for allegedly molesting a child last weekend committed suicide on Thursday.

Two campers came across the body of Mickey Allan Watson, 56, in the Moyie River near Twin Rivers Resort on Thursday night. The Boundary County Sheriff's Office determined that Watson had leapt off the Moyie River Bridge on Highway 2, and was killed by the 425-foot drop to the river below. Investigators concluded the death was intentional and self-inflicted.

Kootenai County officers had arrested Watson, owner of Watson Homes, on July 6 for allegedly fondling an 8-year-old girl at a float house in Bayview the day before.

Three witnesses told deputies that Watson touched the girl inappropriately after inviting her to sit on his lap during a fireworks show. Watson, a friend of the alleged victim's family, left the scene after being confronted by an adult at the home.

Watson, arrested on charges of lewd conduct with a minor, was released on July 8 after paying his $100,000 bond.

Another arrest for Watson was pending for sexual battery of a different victim.

Further investigations of Watson throughout the week revealed at least three more victims, and sheriff's Sgt. Ken Lallatin said there were numerous others identified who haven't come forward yet.

“As of (Thursday), we had probable cause to arrest Mick Watson on the three victims, and we were planning to obtain an arrest warrant first thing (Friday) morning,” Lallatin said.

The department had feared early on Thursday that Watson had left the country, as a number of sources told deputies that he had previously threatened to either kill himself of flee if he were arrested. Some sources said he had already been making arrangements to leave for Costa Rica to escape financial difficulties.

Investigators are still collecting evidence of Watson's alleged offenses to ensure they have all the necessary information, Lallatin said.

Watson's arrest record had included sexual battery, obstructing or resisting officers and drunken driving. In June, the Spokane Merchant's Association, a credit agency, filed a $45,000 lawsuit against Watson.

Lallatin described Watson as “charismatic” and a “smooth talker,” indicating that potential abusers can wear many guises.

“I would just caution people to be careful of who they allow their children to be left alone with and be around,” Lallatin said. “Unfortunately working in this position, I see it too often where these people work their way into families and just victimize their children.” ..News Source.. by ALECIA WARREN, Hagadone News Network

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