Aurora Harbor is where a Tennessee fugitive wanted for child rape and related charges was staying on a houseboat when he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals last week. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Aurora Harbor is where a Tennessee fugitive wanted for child rape and related charges was staying on a houseboat when he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals last week. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Fugitive renting a houseboat picked up by U.S. Marshals

Adam James Gabarra has been wanted in Tennessee since July.

A Tennessee fugitive wanted for child rape and related charges was apprehended in Juneau by U.S. Marshals last week after a tip led them to an area harbor. 

Adam James Gabarra, 50, has been wanted by the Humboldt Police Department in Tennessee since July on charges of incest, rape of a child and sexual battery of a minor.

Gabarra was renting a houseboat in Aurora Harbor, said John Lajeunesse, supervisor of investigations for the U.S. Marshals Service in Anchorage.

“What kicked us off closing in on him was that a gentleman had a bad feeling about him,” he said. The man had interviewed him for a job, “had a bad feeling and looked him up.” Gabarra was using his real name.

U.S. Marshals came from Anchorage to get Gabarra, a trip that probably took less than 36 hours, Lajeunesse said. He credited Matt Bremer, a deputy marshal, with the investigative groundwork that found Gabarra and enabled a plan to pick him up without incident.

“I think he was pretty surprised to see us,” said Lajeunesse, who was on the team that apprehended Gabarra.

While Gabarra had been moving around Juneau openly, it is likely he knew about the charges, Lajeunesse said. “He’s coming from West Tennessee to Juneau, and working under the table, and no idea why he’s doing that?”

It isn’t unusual that people on the run can get a false sense of safety in Alaska, he said. “We see that sometimes. The thought is, as a fugitive, you’re off the radar, you’ve gone far enough.”

The Anchorage office is the only one in Alaska. As a result, marshals routinely fly around the state on business, although infrequently to Juneau, Lajeaunesse said.

The Humboldt Police Department in Tennessee first issued a notice that Gabarra was wanted on July 13. It stated that he was believed to be in Texas. The notice received some regional attention, including by Crimestoppers.

U.S. Marshals in Tennessee adopted the case.

“It came down to a tip we received that he was in Alaska,” said Michael McQuillan, deputy U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee. “The credit goes to the U.S. Marshals in Alaska. They’re the boots on the ground who were able to track the guy and go get him.”

Juneau District Court records show Gabarra was arrested as a fugitive from justice on Oct. 5 and that a public defender is being assigned to the case. A booking officer at Lemon Creek Correctional Center confirmed that he was still there Friday morning.

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

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