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(Representation Photo)Reuters

A former Manatee County sheriff's deputy, who has been on the run for the last 23 years to avoid arrest over charges of raping a six-year-old, was finally arrested by FBI agents from Alaska.

The Federal agents arrested Joseph Keenan May, 60, in Eagle River, where he had been living under the false identity Michael Camp - May's stepbrother who died in the 1970s. 

"According to the indictment, May has been living under the identity of a stepbrother, Michael Camp, who died in his teens in the 1970s in Pennsylvania," a release from Federal authorites stated.

May has also been charged with aggravated identify theft as he used his dead stepbrother's Social Security number to apply for an Alaska driver's license in 2009 and unemployment benefits in 2013.

Law enforcement authorities are surprised on how the former police officer was able to hoodwink investigating agencies for so long.

Assistant US Attorney Thomas C. Bradley told local daily Bradenton Herald that May must have been really careful to avoid any brush with the law so far, including getting fingerprinted even for a job.

"I've done a lot of cases with fugitives; people who have been on the run for two, three years, even 15 years. But for the type of charges he has, this is the longest I've ever seen," Bradley said.

Following the arrest, the FBI found a large cache of firearms and ammunition in May's home and vehicle. 

Even though a statewide arrest notice was issued against May since 1993, he till last Friday, had never been apprehended by any law enforcement agencies in the country.

It was only recently that the FBI agents, while running cross-references, found a resembalence in the pictures used in May's Social Security number and his brother's. On further investigation, the FBI found that Camp was long dead and it become clear that both Camp and May are now one person.

May will be imprisoned for life for the rape charges, while for the charges of identity theft, he could be sentenced to at least 12 years.

May was arrested on charges of raping a 6-year-old girl in 1990. However, he fled the county even before the trial.