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Undated photo provided by the Sacramento County, Calif., Sheriff's Dept. shows Orville Fleming, state fire battalion chief. / AP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A former state fire battalion chief who eluded capture for more than two weeks was arrested Friday in the slaying of his girlfriend, authorities say.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department arrested Orville "Moe" Fleming, 55, near where his pickup truck was abandoned in Elk Grove. He was spotted by a detective searching in the area who saw him board a bus. The detective followed him, and when both men disembarked, Fleming was taken into custody without incident, Sheriff Scott Jones said.

Fleming had shaved his mustache, changed his clothes, wore a hat and had been hiding in dense vegetation, avoiding capture despite multiple searches of the area using aircraft and tracking dogs.

He had vanished earlier this month, abandoning his pickup before sheriff's investigators were alerted to the body of 26-year-old Sarah June Douglas. She was found stabbed to death May 1 inside the home she shared with Fleming for the last two years. Investigators said Fleming moved in with Douglas after meeting her as an escort who advertised on the Internet.

At a news conference Friday night, Jones said that Fleming "admitted culpability of the stabbing of Ms. Douglas on May 1st."

Authorities say Fleming had considerable outdoor skills, was familiar with California's mountains because of his career as a wildland firefighter, and had keys to state fire facilities throughout the state.

He was fired from his job as a battalion chief and instructor with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection after failing to show up at work for a week after the slaying.

Investigators followed up on possible sightings of Fleming as far away as Oregon.

"We are pleased that this search is over and the Sheriff's Office has apprehended Mr. Fleming," Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said in a statement. "We will continue to support the Sheriff and the District Attorney in any way we can as the judicial process continues. "

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Calif. fire chief arrested in woman's slaying

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